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OMG, It's "National Teen Driver Safety Week"

PHOTO: It's Teen Driver Safety Week. The New Mexico Department of Public Safety reports that texting while driving is a major cause of crashes for young drivers. Photo courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
PHOTO: It's Teen Driver Safety Week. The New Mexico Department of Public Safety reports that texting while driving is a major cause of crashes for young drivers. Photo courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
October 23, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. – Teen driver safety is not an LOL matter.

Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez, a public information officer with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, says texting while driving is a major cause of crashes for teens – information he wants teens and their parents to take to heart for this week's National Teen Driver Safety Week.

"People forget that driving is a full-time responsibility,” Gutierrez says. “Your attention needs to be on the road at all times, and when it's starting to get divided with a cell phone, texting, looking at emails, it divides your attention – so that puts you at risk for crashing."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14 to 18-year-olds, and almost half of teen drivers involved in a crash die.

Gutierrez adds another high risk for drivers is drowsiness.

National Teen Driver Safety Week stresses that parents teach their teens the 5 to Drive rules, which are no cell phones while driving, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and always wear a seat belt.

Gutierrez stresses parents giving that guidance to their young drivers could save a life.

"So when you first start driving as a young teen, there's so many things that are going on,” he says. “So it's very important that parents take this time to sit down and talk to their kids. It'll take five minutes and it could save the life of a child."

A recent NHTSA survey showed that only one in four parents has had a serious talk with their children about the key components of driving.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM