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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Friday, October 23, 2015
Media Contact: Brandy Brubaker
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

Speeding and Running Off the Road Top Teen Driver Crash Causes
DMV Urges Teens to Buckle Up and Stay Focused Behind the Wheel

RICHMOND – Speeding and running off the road are the leading causes of crashes that kill teen drivers in Virginia, according to preliminary 2015 figures from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and DMV is urging teen drivers to slow down, concentrate on the road and buckle up. According to statistics from DMV’s Virginia Highway Safety Office, 25 teen drivers have died so far this year in Virginia crashes – an increase of 19 percent over last year’s numbers.

Nearly two-thirds of teen drivers killed weren’t wearing their seat belts.

“Teenagers have their whole lives in front of them and we want to make sure they can enjoy every moment,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “That’s why it is so important to buckle up each and every time you get behind the wheel. Parents should set a good example by always wearing a seat belt too.”

About 80 percent of teen driver fatalities this year were speed-related. Running off the road was a factor in 60 percent of crashes that killed teen drivers. Fifty-six percent of these fatal crashes involved both factors.

“Our statistics show that teen drivers are crashing – and sometimes losing their lives – because many are driving too fast and losing control of their vehicles,” Holcomb said. “Frequently, distraction causes a driver to run off the road. Multi-tasking while driving is a dangerous practice for teens and adults alike. Put your cell phone down and concentrate on the road in front of you.”

DMV urges parents to discuss safe driving with teens. Here are some points to cover:

  • Always buckle up. Seat belt users are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash.
  • Put your phone away. Same goes for food, makeup and other distractions.
  • Slow down and follow the rules of the road. Never exceed the posted speed limit or drive faster than road and weather conditions allow.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. If convicted of a first-offense DUI in Virginia, your license could be revoked for up to a year.
  • Don’t drive if you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
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