By Adam Eisenbarth
The RCMP and Alberta’s integrated traffic units are emphasizing the safety of young drivers this month.
According to Road Safety Vision 2010, young drivers make up approximately five per cent of the licensed driver/rider population but account for about 10 per cent of drivers killed and 13 per cent seriously injured.
While young drivers are involved in a higher number of collisions, Rimbey RCMP Sgt. Mark Groves says not every young driver is dangerous.
“I don’t want to lump everyone into that category. Many of the young drivers are very responsible and have learned quite well from their parents or driver instructors, however stats may show that younger drivers may receive more tickets than older drivers.”
Safe driving starts with the parents who can influence their children to take driver safety seriously.
“Communicate with the young drivers and ensure that they understand the rules of the road and of course encourage them to follow those rules and regulations.”
Another concern that applies to all drivers may be with seat belt use, though Groves says this area is on par with the rest of the country.
“In Canada about 90 per cent of vehicle occupants do wear their seat belts and the remaining 10 per cent who do not wear their seat belts account for 40 per cent of all traffic fatalities.”
It’s an important aspect of safety on the road.
“The single most effective way to save a life or to protect from injury is to ensure that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts.”
On May 5 an example of that was made when an 18-year-old driver and 15-year-old passenger were involved in a rollover collision. Both were wearing their seatbelts.
“With a collision such as that it could have had a much more devastating outcome. They both walked away with minor injuries and they weren’t even admitted into the hospital.”
Groves is prepared for the summer and says it’s a time when some people may take their road safety for granted.
“I think more (of) what we may see is the stunting and other issues like that, and maybe drinking, where they’ve had a few drinks and shouldn’t have drove but they did.”
When it comes to drinking and driving, it’s easy to label young drivers as the irresponsible ones, Groves says that is not necessarily the case.
“Generally speaking the younger drivers are quite good at arranging designated drivers and having a plan in place.”
Young or not, exercising all aspects of driver safety should make for an enjoyable summer and help minimize serious collisions.