Youth drivers need to stay safe behind the wheel

Distracted driving is just one factor behind youth fatalities and accidents on B.C.’s roads.

Every month, at least two youth die in car crashes in B.C., and 20 youth are injured daily.

Distracted driving is the main contributing factor for teen drivers in crashes.

In an age where digital communication is the standard and instant responses are expected, the use of mobile devices while driving is a growing problem among all drivers, including teens. ICBC has highlighted what teens, their families, and their friends can do to help encourage smarter choices behind the wheel.

While it rightly gets the most attention, distracted driving is more than just texting while driving; it’s any kind of activity that takes a driver’s focus away from the road. Eating, talking to a friend, changing a playlist, watching a video, checking your newsfeed, inputting GPS information, and putting on makeup while driving are all examples of distracted driving.

All drivers — not just teens — need to use tech wisely while driving. Use the “Do Not Disturb while driving” feature on your iPhone, or install a distracted driving app to help you resist temptation. Your phone can send auto-replies to explain why you’re not responding.

If you are in the graduated licensing program, it’s illegal to use electronic devices while driving, even if you are using those devices hands-free. Your first offence alone will cost you $543.

Keep music low enough to hear everything else. Sounds from the road can affect the decisions you make as a driver. Turn down the volume, and remove earbuds so that you’re able to hear the siren of an ambulance or the screech of a car’s tires.

Parents need to set the standard. Even though it might seem like they’re not paying any attention to you these days, your children certainly are. Teens are greatly influenced by their parents’ attitude toward texting while driving, and the habits that you employ when you’re behind the wheel.

Parents also need to put away all phones. When taking your teen out to practice driving, insist that all phones be placed in the glovebox before starting the vehicle. Be sure to place yours in the glovebox as well, to ensure that everyone in the vehicle is focused on the road ahead.

If you’re with a friend who’s driving, then chill out, and let your friend focus on driving by being a good passenger. Save the wild dance moves, punching your buddy in the backseat, or getting in a really heated conversation for when you arrive at your destination.

And don’t be afraid to speak up. If your friend is texting while driving, say something. They’re not only being careless, but also placing the lives of everyone in the vehicle at risk. Offer to manage their texts while driving.

Thankfully, youth injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes are declining, in part due to the success of ICBC’s graduated licensing program. But crashes still remain the leading cause of preventable death for young adults in B.C. Other factors such as driver inexperience, carelessness, late-night driving, overestimation of ability, thrill-seeking, and risk-taking also play a role in the high rate of youth crashes.

One in six young drivers could get in a crash. There were 230,000 active licences, and 35,000 crashes, involving youth in 2015. More than 11 per cent of all crashes that occurred in 2015 involved a young person aged 16 to 21. In the Southern Interior region in 2015, there were 43 fatalities and 5,200 injuries involving youth.

For more tips on how to keep kids safe on the road, or to learn more about the graduated licensing program, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Proposed Boston Flats Eco-Depot hits rezoning amendment hurdle

TNRD now considering way forward after third reading of bylaw defeated

Conservative candidate Brad Vis speaks at Ashcroft Tiwn Hall

Puts family first, says Conservatives will work for all Canadians

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

In 1968, an Ashcroft Art Show was an idea whose time had come

Local artists got together to form a club in 1967, and a year later a show was born

Soccer week 2: League play gets underway

Warm-up time is over as the teams get down to work

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Most Read