Get the facts to help ensure safe teen driving
It's an exciting time, and a rite of passage, when your teen begins to drive. But as a parent it's also a time of worry as you send them off, trusting that they've developed the right driving skills.
To help with the process, we've provided some important information and facts that you can share with your teen as you guide them in becoming a safe driver.
- What are five principal reasons that contribute to teenage driving problems?
Drinking and driving
In 2008, 31 percent of the teen drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking; 25 percent had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.*
Teenagers' crashes and violations are more likely to involve speeding than those of older drivers. In 2008, 37 percent of 15- to 20-year-old male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding.**
Driving at night
50 percent of all teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight.***
Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use for all drivers; this rate becomes worse when there are other teens in the car.*
56 percent of teenagers' fatalities in motor vehicle related crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.***
What can you do as a parent?
There are several steps you can take to increase your teen's safety:
Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Ensure that the car has airbags and antilock brakes.
- Provide new drivers with plenty of supervised driving practice, even after they have obtained a license.
Mandate safety belt usage.
Even if your state's graduated licensing law doesn't already mandate it, restrict the number of passengers allowed to ride with your teen driver. Crash rates increase sharply when a teen driver has passengers, particularly other teenagers.
Enforce "no drinking and driving" rules.
- Emphasize that safe driving requires your teen's full attention. Distractions such as cell phone use and text messaging will greatly increase their risk of motor vehicle related injury.
- Place restrictions on nighttime driving and enforce the curfews set by the local towns.
- Enroll new drivers in a driving school to educate them about cars, driving conditions and driving techniques. This will prepare teenagers for the
road, and it could reduce accidents.
- Discuss and reinforce responsible driving behavior with teenagers. Because teenagers are new drivers, they simply don't have the behind-the-wheel experience necessary to understand the dynamics associated with driving a motor vehicle. There's a vast difference between riding in the passenger seat and being the one behind the wheel. By teaching teenagers responsible driving behavior, you can help prevent accidents. We encourage you to discuss safe driving with your teenagerit could be one of the most important conversations you have.
*2008 Young Drivers Traffic Safety Fact Sheet. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics and Analysis
**2008 Speeding Traffic Safety Fact Sheet. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics and Analysis
***Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States. 2007 [online] 2009. National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion (producer)
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