School zone watch, Teen Driver Safety Week under way
Mixing young people and motor vehicles is challenging, but the challenges hold learning opportunities like encouraging safe behavior around school zones where children and motorists need to be vigilant, and training better, safer young drivers.
Law enforcement officers throughout Idaho are watching for speed limit violations in school zones through Monday (Oct. 25).
ITD reminds motorists that violating a speed limit in a school zone will lead to a minimum fine of $100 plus court costs.
In addition to the minimum fine, local governments can make speeding penalties even higher for school zones within their jurisdictions.
The school zone enforcement campaign, funded through ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety, will be held in conjunction with national Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 18 - 24.
"We encourage teenage drivers to 'drive like you care' and their passengers to 'ride like a friend,'" said Margaret Goertz, youthful driver coordinator for ITD.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recommends that teenage drivers should not transport children or other teenagers for the first 1,000 miles or six months until they get their full license.
After six months, vehicle passengers should be limited to a single teenager or child for an additional six months in order for a teenage driver to become familiar with driving without an adult.
Research by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows that distractions cause crashes. When a 16 to 19-year-old driver adds just one passenger, risks of a fatal crash double. Add two passengers and the risk quadruples.
Goertz encourages all teenage drivers to set and maintain ground rules for their vehicle passengers in the spirit of "My car. My rules."
"Start with 'wear your seat belt,'" she said, adding that drivers younger than 18 can expect a fine and court costs totaling $51.50 if they or any passenger under 18 are not wearing seat belts.
"'Don't pressure me to speed,' and 'no drinking or drugs,' are two other good rules to set," she said, adding that other rules can be agreed to and set within groups of young people who ride together regularly.
Keeping the music down, no yelling, and keeping phone conversations short, are examples of additional rules that a teenage driver may require passengers to follow, Goertz explained.