Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas V. Dale and other law enforcement officials today spoke with students at Bethpage High School about safe teen driving in an effort to potentially save lives – especially during what is known as the “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers,” between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“Spring is an exciting time for teenagers,” said County Executive Mangano. “It is the season for proms and graduations, the school year is ending, and summer vacation is just around the corner. However, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury and death among teenagers and the risk for motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19 year olds than any other age group.”
Every year, nearly 5,000 teenagers die in automobile accidents. That statistic equates to 14 teenagers dying every day. Another 300,000 are injured in car crashes annually. In Nassau County, 3,650 automobile accidents in 2011 involved teenage drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 years of age. Approximately 1,850 teenage drivers were injured last year and 4 teenage drivers killed in Nassau.
“These statistics are why we gather here today,” said Mangano. “Life is fragile and it is important that we all make smart decisions and spread the word so that we can live long and healthy lives.”
The County brought along an actual crashed car to the high school, to visually demonstrate the reality of bad decisions.
“It is nearly impossible to turn on the evening news and not hear about a tragic car crash that involves fatalities and serious injuries,” said County Executive Mangano. “In many instances, these horrific stories involve some of our youngest residents who pass away long before they get the opportunity to reach their full potential. I worry about the safety and well-being of our young drivers who are very impressionable. That is why Nassau County is doing everything it can to raise awareness about this issue so that no parent ever has to receive tragic news.
Many experts say that the first year of unsupervised driving is the most dangerous. Driver error, speeding, passengers and distractions are the main causes of teen crashes.
“Parents should expect the unexpected when it comes to their teens’ driving behaviors,” said Mangano. “This is a crucial time for education, awareness and smart decision making and I ask everyone to help spread the word in promoting road safety for all drivers.”
Police Commissioner Thomas V. Dale then addressed the teens about how to drive safely.
“Do not text or talk on the cell phone while driving, turn down your radio, stay within the speed limit, always wear your seat belt, do not exceed capacity of your car, remember to signal, and follow the traffic law when changing lanes. These are all things you can do to cut down on the probability of being involved in an accident,” said Commissioner Dale. “In addition, each year thousands of teens are killed or injured in traffic crashes as a result of underage drinking despite the fact that it is illegal for teens to drive after drinking any alcohol. Underage drinking is illegal and can have disastrous consequences.”