Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sex, drugs, and traffic safety, Part 1

Sex, drugs and traffic safety… what we need to be talking to our teens about.

Sex, yeah, we know that. Drugs? Obviously. And of course we talk to our teenagers about driving safely. Of course we do! Maybe you’re wondering what I’m talking about since most parents already (think they) do this.

Logan, practicing driving
I know I was a responsible parent to my teen drivers, paying for them to attend Driver’s Education classes, taking them out on the road for practice, practice, practice, even though anyone who has done this knows it is not fun. It is not fun! And I have never had a moving violation of any type so I was role-modeling good driving, right? Good driver, good parent, doing the right things as far as I knew. Not even questioning it.

But back to talking about traffic safety. I realize now that I really didn’t do that, at least not more than just superficially. And that is because I didn’t “get it.” I didn’t understand then – because I didn’t think about it - that driving is the most dangerous thing we do every day. Now I “get it:” Driving is not only the most dangerous thing we do every day, but it is a dangerous thing we do every day. Does that distinction make sense?

Today, I am going to focus on why it is important to talk about – and insist on the use of – seat belts. I learned these facts and statistics from 2009 recently... okay, today!:

*61% of 16-20 year olds killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts. 61%!
*Males are much more likely to not wear seat belts than females.
*Nearly twice as many males were killed as females (this is not differentiated by seat belt use).
*Seat belt use reduces risk of fatal injury by 45% and of moderate-to-critical injury by 50% for front seat car passengers, while it reduces fatal injury by 60% and moderate-to-critical injury by 65% for truck passengers.
*Only 1% of seat belt users were totally ejected from a vehicle, which is one of the most injurious circumstances that can happen in a crash.
*Of those who were totally ejected from a vehicle, 31% were not wearing restraints.
*Of those ejected totally from a vehicle, 77% were killed.
*Drivers under the influence of intoxicants are much more likely not to wear seat belts.  

This link has further information, including links to even more information:

I can remember back in the 70s being the first person in my family to consistently wear my safety belt; I don’t even know why, since the others weren’t. With my own kids, we always wore our seat belts without fail. Now I know why that was truly a good decision. And yes, good role-modeling.

Buckle up. It does save lives. And… it is easier to talk about to our teenagers than sex.

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