The Mercedes-Benz Academy, to kick off National Teen Driver Safety Week, is partnering up with Impact Teen Drivers, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Unified School District Police to hold a press conference on distracted driving at Fairfax High School in California to educate young drivers on safety while driving.
The Mercedes-Benz Academy, opened in November 2011, is the first international DMV-certified teen driving school in California. Mercedes-Benz is the only car manufacturer to operate a state-certified driver education school in the U.S.
State and local representatives will be present at Fairfax for the press conference. College students will also be presenting an assembly titled Impact Teen Drivers, offering first hand experiences of the risks associated with distracted driving.
The theme for this year's National Teen Driver Safety Week is "Share, not Scare," looking to motivate teens to make decisions and adhere to the lifesaving benefits of safe driving.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for Americans ages 15 to 20 is car accidents. Teens are four times more likely to have a significant accident when compared to an adult or experienced driver.
"In the United States, vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens," said Carolyn Duchene, director of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. "Most of these deaths are the result of inexperience and distractions. National Teen Driver Safety Week will bring awareness to this issue and help parents and teens learn the importance of safe driving."
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman added that programs such as the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy can help young drivers become safer and avoid putting themselves and other motorists at risk.
The Mercedes-Benz Academy will be holding various events throughout the week to promote safe driving amongst teenagers. Various activities include Los Angeles-area school presentations, distracted driving demonstrations, a teen driver safety fair and free parent and teen workshops.
A separate study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions showed that children pick up on their parents bad driving habits and adopt the behavior once they are old enough to drive.
"Your kids are always observing the decisions you make behind the wheel, and in fact have likely been doing so since they were big enough to see over the dashboard," said Dave Melton, driving safety expert Liberty Mutual. "You may think you only occasionally read a text at a stoplight or take the odd thirty-second phone call, but kids are seeing that in a different way. Answering your phone once while driving, even if only for a few seconds, legitimizes the action for your children and they will, in turn, see that as acceptable behavior."
AutoTrader.com also showed that people often promote safe driving but don't actually practice it themselves. The survey showed that 90 percent of respondents support laws to ban texting and emailing while driving and 57 percent said they would support a ban on talking while driving.
The survey also showed that of the same respondents, 29 percent said they engage in occasional texting and emailing while driving, while 48 percent said they make occasional calls.
In addition to practicing safe driving habits, teens heading back to school are encouraged to practice preventative maintenance and have their cars serviced, especially with the cold winter months approaching.
"Making sure the college-bound vehicle gets a passing grade will give both the student and their parents peace of mind for the drive back to school," said Rich White, Car Care Council executive director.
Motorists should have their steering, shocks and auto batteries assessed, to make sure all systems are running properly.