It’s Teen Driver Safety Week in Kentucky, a good time for all of us to focus on our driving skills and remember to practice safe driving habits when we’re behind the wheel.

Ben Rhodes, the Alpha Energy Solutions racecar driver, is a strong advocate for safe driving as a spokesman for the state’s Department of Highway Safety. This week, Bill Bell, spokesman for Kentucky’s Transportation Cabinet, was a guest on “On Track with Ben Rhodes” (it airs Saturday at Noon on WBNA-TV 21).

Bell said that driver distraction is the primary cause of accidents and brought several talking points (see below).


Bill Bell of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety with Ben Rhodes on the set

At Alpha Energy Solutions, with more than 200 vehicles on the road, we take steps to ensure that our drivers are operating safely. Using a GPS, Alpha monitors our fleet’s speed and location and regularly emphasizes the importance of safe driving.

  1. Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 19-25.
  2. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
  3. Per mile driven, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
  4. Teens must realize that driving is not a right but a privilege that can be taken away.  It comes with a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe.
  5. Last year in Kentucky, there were over 23,000 crashes involving a driver under the age of 21.
  6. The top issue is the lack of driving experience.  Coupled with developmental and behavioral issues that contribute significantly to what happens behind the wheel—for example, driver inattention, speeding, impaired driving, and not wearing a seat belt.
  7. Wearing a seatbelt is a primary law in Kentucky.  Drivers can be stopped…ANY TIME OF DAY… and cited if ANYONE in the vehicle is not restrained.
  8. In Kentucky, we see a slight decrease in impaired driving crashes involving teens, but it’s not enough.  Underage drinking is obviously illegal, but we realize it occurs.  Please, be smart about it and get a designated driver.
  9. Teens are getting the message that distracted driving is dangerous, but the bad news is they still are not putting down the phone.  It’s not just talking… it’s texting, taking “selfies,” using Snapchat, etc.  These are fine BEFORE you start the car, but teens are doing it while the car is in motion, which is illegal.
  10. According to Kentucky’s texting ban law, teen drivers can be stopped and cited using a cell phone while driving.

You can see the episode of “On Track with Ben Rhodes” featuring Bill Bell on Saturday at Noon on WBNA-TV21. It will be available on YouTube next Monday.