Recently, in Colorado Springs, a group of 400 teens who had received their driving licenses within the last few months took part in a teen safe-driving education course, known as The Ford Driving Skills for Life. The course, held in the parking lot of the Broadmoor World Arena, gave teens an up-front and close view of the hazards of impaired driving, distracted driving, recognizing hazards, controlling speed, and driving a safe distance from other vehicles.
The Ford program plans to make stops across the United States, as well as in 35 additional countries. The goal is to keep teenage drivers from becoming a statistic; teenage vehicle crashes continue to be the number one killer of teens across the nation, with only suicide ahead of crashes. In fact, the Colorado Dept. of Transportation reports that 59 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed in car collisions in 2016.
Teen Drivers Twice as Likely to Be Involved in a Fatal Auto Accident
While teen driving deaths in the state of Colorado did drop between 2005 and 2014, a teenage driver is still twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than an adult between the ages of 35 and 40. The Ford course had the teens enrolled in the program drive through the course while texting and then not texting, in order to see the differences. The students also put on special suits to see what it is like to be drugged or drunk, and were put into a Mustang which went out of control in hazardous conditions.
The vast majority of teen drivers simply don’t have the experience which makes them good drivers. Most have had their driver’s license for only a few short months, therefore the goal of the course is to give those teens some real-world experience in a controlled, safe environment. The simulated course also helps to show teen drivers the consequences of driving while distracted or driving while impaired.
The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer
The Ford Program is particularly pertinent during the summer months, which have been dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, teens are involved in even more auto accidents than usual. The teens are out and about, rather than being in school, and are going places with their friends. Unfortunately, one of the primary causes of teen auto accidents is other teens in the car—when teen drivers ride with other passengers, their risk of being in a fatal car crash effectively doubles, and, overall teen drivers seriously underestimate most hazardous driving conditions. While some states do limit the number of other teens a young driver can have in the vehicle, at least for a period of time following receiving their driver’s license, others do not.
Colorado’s Rules for Teen Drivers
Colorado mandates that for the first six months after a teenager receives his or her license, they may have no passengers under the age of 21 in the vehicle with them, unless a parent or other licensed driver is also in the vehicle. For the next six months, the teen driver may have only one passenger under the age of 21 unless a parent or other licensed driver is also in the vehicle. At no time may the teen driver have more than one passenger in the front seat.
Teens and Texting and Driving
Almost a third of all teen drivers admits to texting and driving. Keep in mind that this is the number of teens who admit to texting and driving, meaning those numbers are likely significantly higher. The distracted driver who caused a fatal car accident was a teen driver in more than 12 percent of the fatalities. What most teens—as well as their parents—would probably be shocked to know, is that when a teen talks on a cell phone while driving, his or her reaction times slow to equal that of a 70-year old driver. Teen drivers are also much more likely to drive while impaired—about a quarter of all fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving. If you have a teenage driver, consider enrolling him or her in the Ford Program to decrease the likelihood of a serious or fatal car accident.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, our attorneys can help. At the Rector Law Firm, our Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys have the experience and the resources to build a case that is designed to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. Call us today at 719-578-1106 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.