(CBS4) — Teen driving is in the spotlight as students around Colorado return to school from the summer vacation. The Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a new teen driving awareness campaign on social media Thursday.
Teenagers will find videos about Colorado’s Graduated Drivers License (GDL) law on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. The ads feature parents selling their teen’s car because they didn’t follow the laws.
The GDL law:
- Forbids passengers under 21 years old for the first six months of licensure – with only one passenger allowed after six months until the end of the first year
- Bans use of cell phones until the driver is 18; and
- Makes not buckling up a primary traffic offense and requires occupants in back seat to buckle up too
“When teens receive their driver’s licenses, the first year of driving is the most dangerous,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “But our GDL law has contributed to a near 50% reduction in traffic fatalities involving young drivers over the last 20 years, which is very good news. We must continue to educate teens about GDL and enforce the law if we want to continue to see such positive results.”
According to CDOT, the number of teen driving deaths has gone up by a third over the past two years — jumping from 64 deaths to 86 a year on average.
But it’s not all bad news — in the big picture things are actually improving. The number of young drivers involved in deadly crashes has gone down almost 50% in the last 20 years, due in part to advancements in automobile safety.