Prairie Post (East Edition)

AHS urges teen drivers to pay attention behind the wheel

- Contribute­d

Alberta Health Services supported the recent Parachute’s National Teen Driver Safety Week and is reminding youth that driving takes 100 percent of our attention all year round.

Parachute was founded in 2012 through the amalgamati­on of four charities in the injury prevention field. The Canadian organizati­on provides education in preventing serious injury in homes, in sports and recreation, and on the roads.

According to Parachute, road crashes are the third-leading cause of death among young people in Canada. In 2020, transporta­tion-related injuries were the third-leading cause for emergency department­s and urgent care centre visits among youth, ages 15-19, in Alberta.

This year’s theme focuses on distracted driving. The risk of accidents increases, even after just one second of taking your eyes off the road. Distracted driving can be:

• Visual distractio­n: When a driver’s

eyes leave the roadway.

• Manual distractio­n: When a driver’s hands leave the steering wheel.

• Cognitive distractio­n: When a driver’s mind is no longer on the task at hand.

• Actions — such as texting or calling while driving, talking to friends in the car, switching songs, or eating and drinking — that take a driver away from the task at hand and increase the risk of accidents and injuries on the road.

Avoid distracted driving by:

• Turning your phone off or using the “do not disturb” feature while driving.

• Giving your phone to a friend.

• Parking safely before checking your phone or making a call. Parents can also set good examples for their children and teens by keeping their cellphones out of reach when driving.

In addition to avoiding distracted driving, it’s also important to remember speeding, sleep deprivatio­n, as well as drug and alcohol-impaired and aggressive driving, can increase the risk of crashes and injuries on the road.

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