State Farm Canada

June 18, 2013 08:00 ET

State Farm Canada: Road Hazards Lurk as Summer Driving Season Heats Up

State Farm® and Parachute remind teens and their parents about perils behind the wheel

AURORA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 18, 2013) - The end of the school year brings adventures on the roads for teens so State Farm is reminding young drivers and their parents to be aware of the challenges they can face behind the wheel. Auto crashes are the number one killer of teens in North America and State Farm believes that the way to combat this trend is to talk to teens about staying safe while driving.

In an April 2013 literature review, Parachute, a national charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives, found that teens are overrepresented in vehicle collision statistics. While only 13 percent of licensed drivers in Canada are between the ages of 16 and 24 they account for an estimated 24 per cent of fatalities and 26 per cent of serious injuries on Canada's roads.

"Driver safety, especially among adolescents, is a key priority for Parachute." Says Dr. Phil Groff, VP of Programs at Parachute. "One reason for the overrepresentation in collision statistics among young drivers is that while youth have always experienced emotional and developmental changes that impact on their risk behind the wheel, they are now growing up in a new social setting dominated by social networking influences. These challenges can make decisions around driving while distracted or impaired very difficult."

The situation is just as serious in the U.S. where the latest State Farm/Harris Interactive survey - - conducted among 14-18 year olds reveals that teen drivers are aware of road dangers but continue to partake in some risky behaviours. The survey found that 49% of licenced drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel, and 2 out of 5 believe they have no control over whether or not they will get into a car crash despite research showing that 75% of crashes involving teens are caused by driver error.

"More needs to be done to teach teens about risky driving behaviours like driving while impaired or having too many passengers in their car," said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. "There is always room for improvement when it comes to practicing safe driving; teens' number one priority should be paying attention to the road."

What's causing the overrepresentation of teens in motor vehicle collisions?

There are numerous driving practices that place teens at a greater risk for injury on the road. Distracted driving and impaired driving are two the most problematic among this age group.

Parachute found:

  • Passengers are a top risk factor for youth related motor vehicle collisions.

  • A 2008 study out of the United States found two or more peer passengers will at least triple the risk of crash for teenaged drivers

  • Roughly 40 per cent of teen drivers who were fatally injured on the road had consumed alcohol before the incident.

  • One-third of drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes are between the ages of 16 and 24.

The beginning of the summer season is an ideal time for parents to remind teen drivers about safe driving habits. Some things to speak to your teen about include:

  • Never drink and drive or travel as a passenger with a driver who has been drinking

  • Stay focused on the road; never text and drive

  • Passengers inside the vehicle can be a distraction as well; consider limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle for inexperienced drivers

  • Prepare for summer road trips by checking oil, tire pressure and wiper blades

Celebrate My Drive

For the second year, State Farm is inviting schools in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick to participate in Celebrate My Drive™; Celebrate My Drive is an event that raises awareness of the challenges teens will face on their driving journeys and asks parents, teachers and students to commit to safe driving habits.

This year, Celebrate My Drive takes place from October 18 to 26 and culminates with a rally on Parliament Hill; together with Parachute, State Farm is working to have National Teen Driver Safety Week officially recognized by the federal government.

Participating Celebrate My Drive schools are eligible for grants and prizing, including one of 10 $100,000 grants and one of two Grant Prize Concerts by a chart topping musical artist for their community. To register your school for Celebrate My Drive visit

For more information about auto safety visit the State Farm Learning Centre -

About State Farm

State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm is a Fortune 100 company and is the leading Property and Casualty insurer in North America with more than 80 Million policyholders. In addition to providing affordable car insurance rates, State Farm has more than 500 Canadian agents and 1700 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or see us on YouTube

About Parachute

Parachute is a national, charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. Parachute officially came into being in July 2012 and unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada into one leader in injury prevention. Parachute's injury prevention programming and advocacy efforts are designed to help Canadians reduce their risks of injury while enjoying long lives lived to the fullest. For more information, visit