HOUSTON (October 21, 2015)

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in the United States. Many motor vehicle crashes are preventable, which is why Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center is committed to reducing injuries from motor vehicle collisions by increasing awareness and education about protective and risk factors for motor vehicle safety. Red Duke Trauma Institute has partnered with 104.1 KRBE to run public service announcements during the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 18-24, 2015. Tune in at 9:13 a.m. and 4:43 p.m. on Wednesday to catch the announcements.

“National Teen Driver Safety Week gives us the perfect opportunity to discuss the number one cause of death among teens in the nation,” said Sarah Beth Abbott, Educator of Trauma and Emergency Medical Services at Red Duke Trauma Institute. “We are committed to bringing awareness to our community by working with collaborative organizations and educating motivated teens at high schools. We focus on both the risks and benefits of safe driving habits. We aim to enable teens to achieve their dreams as young adults and beyond.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), nearly one in five crashes in Texas involves distractions while driving. Although cell phone use is the most easily recognized distraction, all in-vehicle distractions are unsafe and can cause crashes or fatalities. This week, in recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, the NHTSA launched the “5 to Drive” campaign to address the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers:

  • Alcohol – 29 percent of drivers aged 15-20 killed in crashes in 2013 had been under the influence of alcohol.
  • Cell phones and texting – The age group of drivers aged 15-19 has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. Texting while driving doesn’t just endanger your own life, but the lives of others as well.
  • Seat belts – In 2013, more than half of all vehicle occupants aged 15-20 killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Speeding – In 2013, speeding was a factor in 42 percent of crashes that killed teenage drivers.
  • Passengers – The NHTSA says that teenage drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior when driving if they have another teenage passenger with them.

In addition to partnering with Greater Houston communities and school districts on the Shattered Dreams initiative, Red Duke Trauma Institute has launched the LIVE your DREAMS partnership with TXDOT. The goal of the program is to target Houston area teenagers and their parents in an effort to reduce the initiation of teenage risky behavior, increase parental involvement and encourage positive peer-to-peer interaction regarding teen driver behavior.