New Hampshire Recognizes Teen Driver Safety Week

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Departments of Safety (DOS), Health and

Human Services (DHHS), and Transportation (DOT) are teaming up this year to

raise awareness of safe driving behaviors during National Teen Driver

Safety Week, October 14-20, 2012. Now in its sixth year, this federally

designated week’s goal is to encourage the communication of the positive

benefits of safe driving.

“Keeping our teens safe is paramount,” states Dr. José Montero, Director of

DHHS’s Division of Public Health Services. “In 2009, there were 1,648

adolescents who were treated in the State’s emergency departments due to

motor vehicle crashes. Eighty teens were hospitalized in that same period.

This is a significant issue that all of us must pay attention to.”

Encouraging positive aspects of safe driving includes wearing a seat belt.

In the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 10.7% of students answered that

they “rarely or never wore a seatbelt when riding in a car driven by

someone else.” According to the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency’s 2011

annual seatbelt survey, adolescent drivers are less likely to buckle up

than adult drivers: 57.1% compared with 71.2%. There are efforts in the

State to help increase the usage of seatbelts amongst teens.

We’re working with teens in several different programs,” said Howard

Hedegard, Highway Safety Specialist at the Injury Prevention Center at

Dartmouth. “However, all of the programs encourage teens to be the good

driver that they want to be. Positively structured learning experiences

have a much greater chance of motivating people to choose safe, smart

behaviors. In fact one school that had continuous programming for over a

year, teen seat belt use increased from 64% in a student led observational

survey to 85%. That’s incredible.”

The public–private collaborative New Hampshire Strategic Highway Safety

Plan, “Driving Toward Zero Deaths” supports additional ways teens can be

the driver that they want to be. The plan supports Graduated Drivers

Licensing and increased community and parental involvement encouraging safe

teen driving practices.

“In New Hampshire our graduated driver licensing system does have a youth

operator license for drivers between the ages of 16 and 20,” said

Christopher Clement, Commissioner of DOT. “This license restricts nighttime

driving (between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.) for those under age 18 and limits

the number of passengers a teen driver may have in his or her vehicle for

the first six months of licensure. Taking care to follow these rules will

help the teen driver keep himself or herself safe.”

“It’s interesting to note that teens ages 16 through 20 were involved in

64% of the crashes during the last five-year period,” said John Barthelmes,

Commissioner of DOS, “but they only make up about 6% of the total licensed

drivers. This discrepancy makes this an issue of the utmost importance and

one that we focus on all the time. However, this week, we’re paying it

special attention.” According to the Department of Safety’s crash

statistics, the majority of fatal crashes involving teens were due to


For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week, visit the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at  or

for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute. For

information on New Hampshire’s driving license requirements, visit . New Hampshire’s

Driving Towards Zero website can also be accessed at