Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways – traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
Research shows which behaviors contribute to teen-related crashes. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate this problem.
Set the standard
It’s not just good parenting, it’s a matter of life and death. You need to talk to your kids about traffic safety early and often – before they reach driving age. When your teenager begins driving, we recommend that you set rules and then clearly outline the consequences of breaking the rules.
Talking on a cell phone while driving slows down the reaction time of even the most experienced driver – making it the same as that of a 70-year-old*. Can you imagine the impact it will have on your teenager? And texting while driving is a serious risk for teen drivers as well, forcing them to take their eyes and at least one hand off the steering wheel.
Distracted drivers can kill or be killed
Driving distractions like talking on a cell phone or texting while driving are an even greater threat for teens than for others. In 2006, among drivers 15 and older involved in fatal crashes, 15- to 17-year olds had the highest percentage of distracted drivers.
Talk to your teen drivers about the risks of talking, texting, and other distractions, and set clear expectations about driving habits.
No More than one Passenger
Most teens are susceptible to peer pressure, which can lead to risk-taking. In a survey completed by the Allstate Foundation, almost half of the teens polled said they had been distracted by their passengers. And almost half also said they drive more safely without their friends in the car.
The more, the scarier
Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
Rules and Consequences
Be accountable, make them accountable
Write up a contract if you want to spell it out. Sign it and have your teen driver sign. Remind them that driving is a privilege that can be easily revoked.