Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Colorado sees a 44% decline in child/teen traffic deaths

Posted by lapearce on July 17, 2009

GDL and seatbelt use partially responsible for drop in deaths

Safety Advocates Gather to Share Ideas to Save More Young Lives

The number of children, teens and young adults, ages 0-20, killed in motor vehicle crashes in Colorado dropped 44 percent between 2003 and 2008. The greatest decline in deaths was among young people ages 15 to 20, which decreased 53 percent. The findings were announced in Denver today at the Colorado Motor Vehicle Safety Symposium: Protecting Our Children and Teens, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

More children die from motor vehicle crashes than any other type of injury. In the United States each year, more than 7,000 children between the ages of 0-19 are killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 600,000 are hospitalized for non-fatal injuries.
According to the CDC’s Childhood Injury Report, Colorado’s motor vehicle death rate for children ages 0-19 is 3.5 per 100,000, below the national average of 4.6. Colorado has the 18th lowest motor vehicle death rates for children ages 0-19.

“Without a doubt, the GDL laws have been critical in saving teen lives in Colorado by helping them ease into the driver’s seat by giving them time to learn to drive gradually without distractions from their peers,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). ”The state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws also helped reduce teen deaths by setting limitations and requirements on new teen drivers, including a passenger restriction, a curfew and mandatory seat belts.”

Lindsey Myers, Injury Prevention Program manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, “Colorado has made great progress in reducing the number of children and teens killed and injured in crashes, but we must continue to work together to find the best ways to educate parents, children and teens about motor vehicle safety.”

Myers credits some of Colorado’s success to increased collaboration across the state, including the development of the Teen Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance, a coalition of state agencies and private partners concerned about teen driving safety.

Another factor is the creation of Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Team Colorado, a statewide network of certified child passenger safety technicians across the state who educate parents and caregivers and sponsor child safety seat fit stations,” said CSP Corporal Eric Wynn, state coordinator for CPS Team Colorado. “It’s vital for parents and caregivers to be aware, not only of Colorado law, but what are the best safety practice recommendations from experts to keep their little ones safe in the car. There are constantly new parents to reach out to and educate, and we will continue to provide fit stations across the state to give parents a place to go for help.”

For more information about child passenger safety recommendations and to find a fit station, visit http://www.carseatscolorado.com.  For more information on Colorado’s teen driving laws and tips, visit http://www.coteendriver.com.  For more information about the leading causes of child injury and how they can be prevented, visit http://www.cdc.gov/safechild.

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