Marilyn Buskohl
Public Affairs Director
O: (605) 310-4614
C: (605) 367-3964
Marilyn.buskohl@aaasd.org

Staying Safe This Prom Season

AAA offers prom-goer safety tips to parents and teens

April 23, 2018 –Teens donning tuxedos and beautiful gowns signal the start of prom season at South Dakota high schools. As parents and teens create the last minute prom to-do lists (pick up tuxedo, make hair appointments, choose the perfect location for pictures) don’t forget to place “safe driving reminder” at the top of the list.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States and there are a multitude of risks associated with prom night festivities including nighttime driving, additional teen passengers and impaired driving.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens are more likely than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related crash. In 2016, almost one out of five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Even though the minimum legal drinking age in every State is 21, data shows 16 percent of 15- to 18-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had been drinking. 

“Prom night is great opportunity for teens to get dressed up for a night on the town with their friends,” said Marilyn Buskohl, AAA spokesperson. “Unfortunately, it is also a night where tragedy can strike and change a teen’s future due to risky behavior such as driving while impaired or distracted.”

Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has identified several factors that increase the danger to teen drivers and their passengers:

  • Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel (i.e. other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc.) 
  • Distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. The most frequent potentially-distracting behaviors were conversing or otherwise interacting with passengers and cell phone use.

Recognizing these risk factors can be useful in creating a safe driving plan for teens (both drivers and passengers) planning to attend prom this spring. 

AAA offers the following tips:

  • Develop a safe driving plan: AAA encourages parents to make a safe driving plan with their teen, set a reasonable time to return home and talk with them about potential risks such as driving with a passenger and also while impaired or distracted.
  • Discuss prom plans with other parents. Don't assume all parents share your values and will monitor your teen's actions as you would expect. Exchange phone numbers and talk with other parents and your teen's friends to ensure ample communication.
  • Limit the number of passengers in a vehicle. Parents should limit the number of teens in the vehicle to the driver and one passenger. The teens may have plans to go “as a group” but they should drive in separate vehicles and enjoy the “group” when they reach their destinations (pictures, dinner, prom and after prom).
  • Say No to Alcohol. Remind your teen that it is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Encourage teens to be prepared to appropriately handle peer pressure to drink alcohol by saying no. Do not serve alcohol to your teen or any other teen in your home.
  • Don’t drive while impaired, distracted or drowsy:
    • Remind teen passengers not to create distractions for the driver. No cell phone use while driving. Keep your eyes on the road and limit passenger interaction. 
    • Remind your teen that safe, responsible drivers do not combine drinking and driving.
    • Remind your teen to not drive if they are drowsy after a long night of dancing. Sleepiness can slow reaction time, decrease awareness, and impair judgement. 
    • Remember defensive driving skills: teens will be on the road on a weekend night with adult drivers who may be driving impaired (from alcohol or drugs). They need to be attentive and watch for other drivers who may not be driving safely.

Additional safe driving tips for teens and parents can be found at www.teendriving.aaa.com.

 

AAA Study: 80 Percent of Motorists Admit to Aggressive Driving Habits

Young Male Drivers Lead the Pack

 

February 20, 2018 – Though February is the month of love, it is also Aggressive Driving Awareness Month and statistics say that nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger and aggression behind the wheel, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research study.

The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in some type of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.  “Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage and aggressive driving behavior,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager, Marilyn Buskohl. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

Aggressive driving behavior is described as:

  • Purposefully tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Running red and yellow traffic lights
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Yelling at another driver
  • Honking to show annoyance or anger
  • Making angry gestures
  • Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose

Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

  • Male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. For example, male drivers were more than three times as likely as female drivers to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.
  • Drivers living in the Midwest were more likely to tailgate or yell angrily than people living in other parts of the country. Though Midwest drivers are less likely to confront others, beware when traveling to the Northeast where drivers are more likely to confront each other.
  • Drivers who reported other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and running red lights, also were more likely to show aggression. For example, drivers who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle on purpose.

“It’s completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices,” said Buskohl. “Don’t risk escalating a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely.”

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.

Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

 

TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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