As students prepared last week for the Senior Prom activities, school officials did their part to remind students about the dangers on driving and the precautions they can take to make sure they are safe on one of the biggest nights of their high school career. At the request of Milford School Resource Office Robert Masten, students heard from Collision Reconstruction Unit Detective Joseph Lane of the Delaware State Police. The officer educated the teens on safe driving as he reviewed the details of a car crash and shared the stories of real crashes he has visited as a Delaware State Police Trooper.
According to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, there was a total of 96 fatal crashes in Delaware in 2013 with 9% of all those crashes involving teenagers. With Delaware Motor Vehicle licensing approximately 750, 16 and 17 year olds every month, Detective Lane states that the focus on educating young drivers is necessary.
“Young drivers are inexperienced and can think they are invincible,” commented Detective Lane. “Driving is the most dangerous activity we do on a daily basis.”
Officer Lane reviewed exactly what happens during a car crash as he walked students through the three collisions that take place: the collision of the car into an object, the collision of the human inside the vehicle hitting an object and an internal collision where the internal organs of the human body crash into the body. Detective Lane stated that a main cause for most of the crashes he reconstructs is that the individuals did not give themselves enough time and were in a rush while driving.
In addition to worrying about being on time, Detective Lane pointed out that cell phone use and texting has become an element that has increased the chances of car crashes due to distractive driving. Since the statistics on the dangers of distracting driving are relatively new, it is very difficult for state officials to understand the exact impact presented by texting and driving but there is no question among experts that distracted driving leads to more dangerous situations on the roads.
“When that text message goes off people are going to look at it, it is almost as if they cannot help it,” commented Detective Lane. “It is not just kids it is everyone. You are better off just to turn off the phone when you get behind the wheel.”
The Office of Highway Safety encourages parents to get involved with the education of their young drivers.The Graduated Driver License (GDL) Parent Orientation Program (POP) is now available online at www.ohs.delaware.gov/OHSGDL/story.html for all parents and sponsors of new teen drivers in Delaware. The program gives parents educational resources to help educate and teach their new drivers how to drive safely, and what responsibilities and liabilities the parent assumes with a newly licensed driver. For more information and resources for first time drivers and on the Graduated Driver License, the Office of Highway Safety encourages individuals to visit their website at www.ohs.delaware.gov and click on “Teen Driving” or visit www.teendriving.dmv.de.gov.