TAVARES — Oct. 19-25 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and The Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) is helping to raise awareness of the many risks teens face on the roads. During the week, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and local enforcement agencies will be on heightened alert to enforce Florida’s ban on texting while driving.
“The increasing popularity of electronic devices can cause a major distraction for many teen drivers,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairman of the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team. “All too often, the devices are winning the attention of teen drivers, and our kids are losing with tragic results.”
Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that from 2010 to 2012, more than 280 teens between the ages of 15 and 19 died in vehicle crashes.
A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported that nearly half of teens interviewed had ridden in a vehicle with a driver who texted, and a third of the teens surveyed said they’d texted while driving. NHTSA research shows that anti-texting laws and stronger law enforcement have reduced the rate of texting while driving. To date, 34 states—along with the District of Columbia and Guam—have passed legislation outlawing texting while driving.
“While no one is exempt from the impact of distracted driving, teens are especially susceptible,” said Olasimbo. “We want to remind our teen drivers that no call or text is more important than your life.”
The Lake County CTST is a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary approach to solving roadway safety problems on the streets and highways in Lake County. The goal of CTST is to advance the safety of motorists and non-motorists in Lake County through the collective effort of education, emergency services, law enforcement, traffic engineering and citizens.
Meetings are held at 9:30 a.m. every month on the third Thursday at the Florida Department of Transportation’s Leesburg Office at 1405 Thomas Ave., Leesburg.
For more information on teen driving safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov, www.distraction.gov or www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov. To get in touch with the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team, call 352-483-9048.