Save Our Teen Drivers

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

Posts Tagged ‘speeding’

Is showing off worth your life?

Posted by lapearce on February 17, 2010

Today I saw my second dead body. The first was in a small, mining town called Trona California. The road turned left, a driver went straight and was ejected from the car. I’m fairly certain it was a drunk driving crash. The second, today, happened when a woman showing her car to a potential buyer hit a tree outside my office at a great amount of speed. She was killed instantly and the interested buyer was injured, luckily he’s going to be OK.

The car was a modified Corvette with a lot of power. The office building is on a curvy road that is popular with test drivers. She didn’t even make it through the first turn. She was obviously showing off and it cost her her life. All because she wanted to impress a potential buyer.

A lot of crashes, especially with younger drivers, happen because the driver is showing off. A lot of people overestimate their driving abilities. When all you do is drive in normal, on-road situations you can’t possibly accurately assess your abilities when you push a car. If all you do is walk, how do you know how fast you can run?

That is why you should never push your car on public streets. There are tracks out there and courses you can take if you want to see what you and your car can do. The benefit of these courses is there typically aren’t any trees or parked cars or buildings right next to them for you to hit. If you lose control you’ll likely get out of it unscathed, this can’t be promised on the open road.

A fatal crash is always tragic. We can never bring back the life that was lost, but we can honor their life by learning from what happened and trying to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes. Please, be safe on the road today, and save the fast stuff for the track. Trust me, you probably aren’t as awesome of a driver as you think you are. I’d happily help you see that on a closed course.


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Teenage girls are becoming more agressive on the road

Posted by lapearce on February 4, 2010

I guess that whole gender equality movement has finally peaked with the upcoming generation. A recent Allstate survey found that while teen boys are becoming calmer behind the wheel teen girls are increasingly taking part in risky behavior. Girls are also more likely to text while they drive– one in four are guilty of it.

The old assumptions that parents and insurance companies have had about girls being safer on the road than boys is coming to a screeching halt and girls prove that they can be dangerous too. If you have a teen daughter don’t feel as though she’ll be safe because she isn’t “aggressive”. As the old Disney cartoon “Motor Mania” showed, people become different when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Studies have actually shown that we de-humanize people when they are surrounded by steal– or even the helmet of a motorcycle. We don’t react to them as people, we react to them as ‘cars’. This de-humanizing allows us to drop our typical societal norms of politeness and to treat people how we wouldn’t treat them if they weren’t in a vehicle. Would you ever cut in front of someone in line at the grocery store? Probably not. They will likely tap you on the shoulder and point to the end of the line. But how many of us have cut in front of other cars? No shoulder tapping, no pointing, a honk is easy enough to escape.

Girls need to be reminded that they are not immune to problems on the road. The dangers of distractions need to be drilled in them more than boys and both sexes need all the education they can get on how to be safe drivers.

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Connecticut DMV says teen driving laws are working

Posted by lapearce on July 24, 2009

Speeding convictions have dropped 43% over the past two years in Conn.

Speeding convictions have dropped 43% over the past two years in Conn.

Teen driving laws that took effect about a year ago in Connecticut seem to be making an impact. The DMV says there has been a drop in fatalities caused by teen drivers as well as a significant drop in convictions for driving-related offenses among teenagers.

The laws, which took effect last August, included stricter curfews for new drivers, more on-the-road training and tougher drunk driving penalties.

A recent study out of Australia showed that inforcement is a very good way to make teens follow laws. The fear of getting caught is more than the fear of dying among new drivers, it seems. These laws save lives and not enough states have them. However, just because a state has a shiney new graduated driver’s license law doesn’t mean that education should be shelved. Teaching teens how to drive is still far more important than just punishing them for making mistakes.

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Tiwi: because you can’t always be with your teen driver

Posted by lapearce on July 2, 2009

Nanny products that watch over teen drivers are a touchy topic. A lot of people feel like they are invading their teen’s privacy and a lot of teens don’t like the idea of every road sin they commit being recorded for their parents to see. Dispite this, there seem to be an increase in products designed to monitor teen driving. There are obviously parents out there who understand the benefits of these products outweigh this assumption that you are violating their privacy.

In a perfect world there would be no need for Tiwi. Tiwi records speeding, hard braking, sharp turns, lack of seat belt and monitors your child’s location. In a perfect world teens would understand the inharent dangers of agressive driving and not take part. I feel that proper education and defensive driving clinics do a lot to help instill these beliefs into new drivers, but even if your teen has been through a suplemental driving program, you cannot ride with them at all times. You cannot always be there to see how they are driving and to give them advice when they make a mistake.

Tiwi combines technology similar to DriveCam with GPS and adds an online element. Parents can log in to the DriveSmart web site to see a report card of their driver and incidents. They can also receive text messages, phone calls or an email if their teen’s car leaves a predetermined geographical border. Whats better than this is that if the teen corrects the behavoir themselves they prevent the information from going to the web site. This changes behavior.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested Tiwi and found that is substantially reduced risky driving and crashes because of the behavior change Tiwi created in the new drivers. 18 year old Abby Anderson has had Tiwi in her car for the past 18 months. Originally opposed to the idea, she is now glad her parents added DriveSmart’s program to her car.

“In the end, I do think, if it weren’t for putting it in, I’d have a lot more speeding tickets right now,” she said.

Her parents also enjoy the peace of mind the program gives them:

“For me, the experience of having security of knowing that she’s okay or where she’s at was a benefit as a mom,” Abby’s mother Sabrina said.

Tiwi is a little on the expensive side at $450 plus $20 a month for service. However, if it prevents one crash or a ticket it more than pays for itself. If it saves your child’s life it is worth far more than its list price.

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New software maps teen’s position and speed

Posted by lapearce on June 16, 2009

Even the best kids can make bad decisions behind the wheel of a car. Starting today, all new and existing Zoombak GPS customers will be able to tell which direction their teen is heading, and how fast it is. they can also look at speed averages.

Simon Buckingham, CEO of Zoombak says that teens’ driving habits improve when monitored by parents. This is true, parental involvement is key fo a teen being safe on the road. I don’t think many teens would risk speeding or going where they aren’t supposed to go when they know their parents are monitoring their every move.

This may be seen by many, especially teens, as a gross violation of personal freedom for the teens. I’ll admit, it is a little Big Brotherish to be able to monitor your teen’s every move. While they are under the age of 18, however, they are your responsibility, and if you think that monitoring them is the way to keep them safe, then that is your decision.

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Half of local road’s fatalities were 18 or younger

Posted by lapearce on June 12, 2009

Memorial for Ryan Case on Live Oak Canyon Rd. He was 18 when he over corrected and struck a tree.

Memorial for Ryan Case, 18, on Live Oak Canyon Rd. He over corrected and struck a tree.

I’m a car nut. I’m very active on a large BMW forum where the average member is an 18 year old male, per our demographics. Recently, a thread titled “post your crashes” brought something very illuminating to light:

A lot of these teen boys crash on canyon roads (or twisties). Here are some of the explanations given:

“Lost it in some twisties and went off the road into a ditch.”

“Tackling some twisties, lost it on a gravel patch, collected a CLS350 heading the opposite direction. Wrote off both cars”

“On one of the local twisties here, there is a small chicane section over a bridge that you can hit close to the top of 3rd gear. I went into the chicane at 75 mph, tapped the throttle over the bridge while transitioning right and the back end kicked out. I over correct and lodged the rear right tire right between the cement and slammed the back end into a telephone pole.”

I, like many other, weren’t shocked to hear that this 3 1/2 mile road, that has been the place of 12 deaths in the past 10, years, kills more teens than it does adults. Only two of those 12 deaths have been to people over the age of 25, and most of them have been to teens.

I have an unique point of view on this, as both a drivign instructor, and a person who grew up near this road. When I was a teen we would go down there and drive the canyon. Looking back now, we did really stupid stuff. Obviously, this past time hasn’t changed. Kids like to drive, and they like to think that they are good drivers. I thought I was God’s gift to driving when I was 16, that I was such a better driver than everyone else on the road. Man was I wrong. Luckily, I got to learn through experience, not tragedy.

Unfortunately, not as many people are as lucky as I was.

Of the 189 fatal and injury crashes that have occurred on Live Oak Canyon Road since 1999, excessive speed has been found to be the leading cause of the crash in 32 percent of the cases. Unsafe movement is believed to be the leading cause in 39 percent of the cases.But the two causes are connected and excessive speed is often what causes the driver to make an unsafe movement of the vehicle, Goodwin said. Add inexperience to the equation, and you have a driver that may overcorrect when his or her car swerves at high speeds.

“Speed leads to an unsafe lane movement,” Goodwin said. “They’re losing control of the vehicle and overcompensate.”

Residents and officials are trying to find ways now to make the road safer for drivers (i.e. make it unfun for teens to go racing through). I still live by this road, and I still like driving this road. It seems like to protect the teens they may be forced to punish the masses, however. I just wish we taught these kids they weren’t invincible so that mitigation measures like these weren’t needed.

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Ford introduces “MyKey” in hopes to save lives

Posted by lapearce on May 28, 2009

Is custom programing that limited speed and requires seat belt use the key to saving lives? Ford thinks it is. Yesterday they unvailed MyKey, a system that will come standard on all new Fords.

How MyKey works is that the car comes with two keys, one for the parents and one for the new driver. The car will drive normally for the parent, but for the teen, chips in the key will tell the car not to go past a certain speed, not turn the stereo on until the driver is buckled up, and even control how loud the music is. It will also prevent traction control from being turned off, and let you know sooner when the car is running out of gas.

So, is MyKey the answer? Well, it can’t hurt. MyKey is great because it eliminates two big cause of deaths among new drivers: excessive speed and lack of seat belts. Current technology can just make parents aware when their new driver goes past a certain speed, or chime annoyingly at the teen to buckle up. This actually stops them. I think that over time, it will create better habits in the teens with cars that have MyKey.

The program won’t solve all problems associated with new drivers, but it’s a step in the right direction. We always tell our families that we can’t ride home with them. Now, in some way, we can.

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