Save Our Teen Drivers

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

Archive for the ‘teen’ Category

Teen driver killed while trying to save gas

Posted by lapearce on August 24, 2009

Tailgating semi trucks is a popular hypermiling technique. One false move and you will crash. Is it worth it?

Most hypermilers know that drafting is dangerous. One false move and you will crash. Is it worth it?

Hypermiling: the act of taking extreme measures to save gas. Some of the more extreme measures of this practice are very dangerous, such as “drafting” behind semi trucks, driving 20mph under the speed limit on the highway, or turning the car off while going down hill. All as an attempt to save a couple miles per gallon on the tank of gas.

These practices are dangerous, and for one young man in Australia  hypermiling cost him his life.

The teen turned the car off and took the keys out of the ignition before going through a bend. He had only had his license for a month and didn’t know that when the car is off the ignition is locked. Unable to steer, his car plowed into a semi truck, killing himself and taking off half the face of a passenger. Two other passengers were also injured in this crash.

Coroner Rod Chandler said, “I am satisfied that it occurred in this instance not because the deceased was being foolhardy or irresponsible but rather because of his ignorance of its effect upon his capacity to manage the vehicle.”

There is much more than needs to go into driver’s education than simply how to drive. How many parents think to discuss practical ways to increase fuel economy or what happens when the key is removed from the car with their teens? Hypermiling exists and teens may be influenced by the promise of astronomical high gas mileage, but at what price? Dangerous driving is dangerous driving no matter what your motive. Driving too close to trucks, much slower than traffic, over inflating your tires and turning off the car while it is moving exponentially increase your chance for a crash. If no one is hurt the irony is that the cost of your insurance deductible is probably more than the amount of gas you’d save in a year. If someone is killed because of it, then no amount of fuel saved makes it worth while.

Here are some tips on how to hypermile safely for the best mix of fuel economy and safe driving. Many of these tips (ie slower acceleration and getting ready to stop sooner) are safer too than getting on the gas or braking late, which reduces your ability to move out of the way or stop in an emergency.

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Alcohol isn’t the only substance that lead to teen car crashes

Posted by lapearce on August 19, 2009

About a third of fatal teen crashes involved alcohol. It is a scary number and it obviously means that something needs to be done about this epidemic of drunk driving from teen drivers. Lack of understanding of their tolerances, and the feel of invincibility makes teens more susceptible to drinking and driving, even if they cannot legally drink. Just last week a local teen, Milad Moulayi, was found guilty of second degree murder when, at the age of 17, he drove his mother’s Mercedes Benz at speeds in excess of 100mph down a city street, crossed into on coming traffic and hit a light pole, killing his 16-year-old passenger. He had a bac of .11.

While parents need to talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking and driving and make sure they know that you are always able to pick them up and drive them home no matter where they are or what time it is, there are other substances that need to be discussed as well.

One of these substances is pot. The NHTSA found that while drunk driving is decreasing, stoned driving is on the upswing. On any given night roughly 9% of drivers are high on marijuana, compared to just over 2% who hit the bottle before getting on the road.

The biggest problem with driving while stoned is that the driver often thinks that they are driving just fine and many times often think they are safer drivers than when sober, as a NHTSA focus group found. However, a recent study showed that slow reaction time makes stoned driving just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Over the counter drugs are also a problem. About 4 percent of night time drivers are under the influence of prescription pills, many illegally. This problem is especially prevalent among teens, who raid their parents medicine cabinets or buy their classmate’s medication at school. It is estimated that 1 in 5 teens abuse presription paint drugs. Many of these pills carry that familiar warning: may cause drowsiness, do not drive or operate heavy machinery.

The dangers don’t stop at typical drugs that we expect, there are other meneses out there that are discounted because they aren’t seen as a drug. Huffing, the act of inhaling materials such as electronic duster or spray paint for a high is a dangerous fad among teens. These products are easy to get and a lot of teens feel that they are safe because they aren’t drugs. But the effects of huffing can be very dangerous and even more so behind the wheel.

The symptoms of huffing are: dizziness, strong hallucinations, delusions, belligerence, apathy, and impaired judgment. Additional symptoms exhibited by long-term inhalant abusers include weight loss, muscle weakness, disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, rapid pulse, hand tremors, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, hallucinations, and, in severe cases, grand mal seizures.

This isn’t a list of symptoms one would want to experience while driving. On August 3rd 17 year old Christine Manchester inhaled from a can of an aerosol duster while driving. According to a passenger she then: “got a blank stare on her face, her body became rigid, and the car went off the road and hit two trees.”

This is still just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to substances that can get your teen into trouble. When you talk to your teen about drinking and driving make sure to bring up other substances as well. Also, be aware of what the signs are of drug abuse and be aware of what your teen is doing. Let your new driver know that you are always there to pick them up if they aren’t in a state to drive. Getting them home safely is more important than what ever rule they broke or stupid thing they did. That comes first, punishment can come later.

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