Prairie Post (West Edition)

Save the date for National Teen Driver Safety Week


National Teen Driver Safety Week is an annual public awareness campaign that aims to build awareness around young driver safety issues. This year from October 16-22, the awareness campaign is calling on young drivers to recognize that #DrivingTak­es100 percent of our concentrat­ion and attention when operating a vehicle and to stop distracted driving. In Canada, road crashes are the third-leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24 and young drivers are killed in crashes at a higher rate than any other age group under 75. In fatal collisions, drivers aged 16-25 are more likely to be distracted than all other age groups.

When the words ‘distracted driving’ are mentioned, people often think first about cell phones, but phones are not the only distractio­ns encountere­d behind the wheel. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task at hand. It includes anytime the driver’s eyes leave the roadway, when the driver’s hands leave the steering wheel or when the driver’s mind is no longer on the task at hand. Some examples including using your phone to talk, text or read, switching songs, changing the temperatur­e, eating, smoking, pets in the vehicle and even putting on make-up.

So what can young drivers and communitie­s do? Put down the phone, don’t drive distracted. Your phone can do a lot of things, but it can’t drive a car. Take a moment to turn your phone off while you’re driving, or text your friends before you leave. Your friends want you to wait and like their post when it is safe.

During National Teen Driver Safety week, young drivers are encouraged to take steps to avoid distracted driving by:

• Focusing on driving and keeping your eyes on the road.

• Keep your phone out of reach and enable your phones “do not disturb” feature. If you need to make a call or text find a safe place to pull over and park you vehicle. Texting your friend “be there in 5 min” might seem harmless but it’s not worth getting into a crash or getting injured.

• Adjust your mirrors, set your GPS and pick your music or playlist before you go.

• Speak up! If you are riding in a vehicle with a driver who is distracted, let them know and ask them to focus on driving.

• Most importantl­y- Parents and experience­d drivers need to set a good example. While the focus is on young drivers, these actions should be practiced by all drivers regardless of age and years of experience.

Join the conversati­on on social media, using the hashtags #DrivingTak­es100 and #NTDSW2022. Visit for more informatio­n.

Brandee Brown is a Health Promotion Facilitato­r with Alberta Health Services, in the Population Health Promotion Program.

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