According to the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, last year 66 kids ages 15-20 died on Mississippi roadways. And today, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
In 2015, 23 percent of youth highway fatalities in Mississippi were alcohol related. And with that fact, safety officials and the Children’s of Mississippi’s Highway Safety Program (CMHSP) are trying to bring awareness to the dangers kids face behind the wheel and that drinking and driving is never a good mix.
“The number one killer of teens in this country is car crashes and Mississippi is considered 5th for how many teens we lose to car crashes,” said Tawni Basden with CMHSP.
Monday, CMHSP hosted prom safety events at both Northwest Rankin and Ridgeland high schools to promote safe driving. There, they demonstrated a mock crash to show what happens when someone drives impaired.
CMHSP said that one of the problems they believe is leading to so many accidents involving Mississippi youth is that the requirements needed for teens to be granted a driver’s license are at a minimum and need to be expanded.
“Drivers education is dwindling in our state, it’s a very good program, but I don’t think we have enough of it,” said, Basden.
She believes that more supervised hours driving should be required before someone is allowed a license. She used both Alabama and Louisiana as examples, saying that they both require more supervised hours behind the wheel than Mississippi.