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Good Samaritan Encouraging Teens to Buckle Up on Prom Night

It’s ok to wrinkle your dress or tux on prom night.

In 2017, 72.7% of Nebraska’s teen fatalities weren’t wearing a seatbelt, making car crashes the number one cause of injury and death for our teens today.

"National data shows one-third of all teen crashes are happening during prom through graduation season in the evening hours," says Tracy Dethlefs, trauma outreach coordinator at Good Samaritan. "Prom and graduation night should be filled with happy memories. But as parents, we also know they come with added risks. They’re, unfortunately, the perfect storm for car accidents."

CHI Health Good Samaritan, partnering with the Nebraska Safety Center and the NDOT Highway Safety Office, aims to start the conversation about safe driving with its "Live to See The Sunrise" campaign. The campaign focuses on the top five teen driving risks: not wearing a seat belt; speeding or racing; distraction from cell phone use, texting or teen passengers; driving at night and fatigue; and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Parents have more power than they might think, according to Erin Howard, transportation safety manager with the Nebraska Safety Center. "Just by being involved and modeling safe driving behaviors, you can lower your teens’ crash risk by half. As they leave for the night, simply remind them to buckle up and don’t text. Teens are also more likely to crash when there are other teens in the car."

Billboards on the north and south ends of Second Avenue are promoting the ‘Buckle-Up’ message until mid-May. Posters have been sent to schools in Buffalo, Sherman, Custer and Dawson counties. And more than 1,000 cards have been given to central Nebraska flower shops for placement in corsage and boutonnière boxes. The same message will be promoted during the graduation season.

Teens cite a number of reasons for not buckling up. "They forgot, peer pressure, the seat belt is uncomfortable, they’re only going a short distance. But on prom night, not wanting to wrinkle their new clothes is near the top of the list," Dethlefs said.

While the intent for the campaign is to provide an opening for parents to discuss prom night safety, Dethlefs adds: "Hopefully the hashtag #livetoseethesunrise is a way for teens to remind their peers that they have lots of fun and exciting times ahead, so stay safe."
NDOT Highway Safety Office 2017 Teen Driver Statistics

In 2017, 72.7% of the 22 teen traffic fatalities (drivers and passengers, ages 13 -19) were not wearing seat belts. Wearing seat belts increases odds of surviving a crash under any circumstances by up to 50 percent.

Teen drivers (ages 19 and younger) represent only 7.3% of all licensed drivers in Nebraska, but were involved in as many as 37% of Nebraska’s overall crashes.

Nebraska teen drivers (ages 19 & younger) were involved in:

  • 37% of "exceeding the speed limit" crashes
  • 26% of "speed too fast for conditions" crashes
  • 26% of rear-end type collisions
  • 24% of all single-vehicle rollover crashes
  • 23% of crashes using a cell phone
  • 22% of crashes due to "road conditions" which were wet and/or snowy
  • 21% of all reported crashes
  • 20% of crashes between 9 p.m. and midnight
  • 17% of "failure to yield" crashes
  • 15% of crashes between midnight and 3 a.m.
  • 11% of alcohol-involved crashes