A New Year窶冱 Resolution You Can Keep!

What do Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD have in common? Both sent out a survey to nearly 2,300 eleventh and twelfth graders to find out what teens find dangerous about driving during the holiday season.

What do Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD have in common? Both sent out a survey to nearly 2,300 eleventh and twelfth graders to find out what teens find dangerous about driving during the holiday season.

Journalist Pat Speer wrote about the findings of this survey in Insurance Networking News on December 28th, 2011, stating that teens put New Year’s Eve at the top of the danger list for the likelihood of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Of the 49% of teens who voted New Year’s Eve at the top of their list, 10% of them admitted to participating in driving under the influence.

However, there is good news! “Peer pressure can be a positive factor in curbing risky behaviors”, especially drives under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. If the passenger asked the teen to stop driving, 94% of teen drivers who consumed alcohol beforehand, and 90% who used marijuana said they would stop driving. When the teens were asked if they would be the person to ask a peer to stop driving, 87% said they would stop a drunk driver and only 72% would ask someone to stop if they used marijuana.

“New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate both the past year and the possibilities of the year to come, yet far too often poor decisions by teens result in tragic injuries and deaths," said Stephen Wallace, senior advisor for policy, research and education at SADD. "To avoid a fatal start to the New Year, teen passengers need to use their voices if they have concerns about their friends' behaviors. They will be heard.”

These decisions and communication should not just happen around the holidays however. That is why STEPS is asking the community to make a resolution that is easy to keep and worth keeping for the entire 2012 year: keep safety a priority, do not provide alcohol to teens, and don’t drive under the influence.

Youth can take on this New Year’s resolution by speaking out with their friends and being a positive peer influence. Parents can also ensure safety by talking with their teens and their children’s friends about expectations, consequences and driving ground rules. There is even a parent/teen contract at libertymutual.com/teendriving that offers “families a starting place to begin the safe driving conversation and set rules.”

"Teens need to be prepared for dangerous behaviors of other drivers who will be impaired on New Year's Eve. Having this important conversation provides an opportunity for parents to share their concerns and determine rules and consequences that help their teen driver make healthy, safe choices for themselves and their friends, so they don't become another headline,” said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual.

Additional helpful tools and resources about how to be a safe and responsible driver can be found at www.LibertyMutual.com/TeenDriving. The website provides state-by-state teen driving laws, tips on driving in inclement weather, practice permit tests, and video demonstrations of safe driving techniques, including parallel parking. Other important safety information can be found at www.sadd.org.

Make safety and communication your New Year’s Resolution — a resolution you can keep!