Teen Safe Driving – Resources for PediatriciansSeptember 7, 2016
Teen Safe Driving – Resources for AdvocatesSeptember 7, 2016
Obtaining a driver’s license is one of the milestones that teenagers eagerly await. Many parents look forward to having another driver in the household as that can help ease a family’s busy schedule. However, before you hand over those keys to your new teen driver, there are some things to consider. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States? On average 7 teens are killed every day in car crashes. As tragic as that is, these deaths are largely preventable. What places these new teen drivers at risk? The biggest factors are lack of experience, risk taking, driving with other teens, impaired driving and distractions.
What can you do to keep your new teen driver safe behind the wheel?
- Be a good role model. Children, even your teens, watch what you do and often copy you. Drive as you want your teen to drive: obey the rules of the road, limit distractions and always wear a seatbelt.
- Provide a safe, well-maintained car for your teen to drive.
- The riskiest period of time for the teen driver is the first 6 months after obtaining their Provisional Driver’s License. This is the time to closely monitor and set limits on your teen’s driving until they have gained that valuable experience that will make them a safer driver.
- Always wear a seat belt and make sure that your children do as well. Close to 1/2 of teen deaths could be prevented if they wore seat belts.
- Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use any sort of cell phone (even hands free). Make sure your teen driver knows that. Set a good example by not using the phone when you drive.
- Limit other distractions for the novice driver like eating, and playing with the radio.
- Teens with Provisional Licenses cannot carry other teens unless accompanied by a licensed adult over the age of 25. Once they have an unrestricted license, consider limiting the number of teens they can carry to one.
- Consider limiting nighttime driving to before 9 pm. Most nighttime collisions happen between 9 pm and midnight.
- Never drive impaired. Even one drink impairs driving and judgment skills. Make sure your teen understands the risks of drinking and driving. Let them know they should call you for a safe ride home if they or another driver are impaired in any way.
- Consider use of a Parent Teen Driving Agreement to outline you and your teen’s responsibilities. This allows you to outline rules, responsibilities and penalties in a calm nonjudgmental manner. You may find examples here.
- For useful tips on supervising your beginning driver and how to talk to teens about safe driving and use of Parent Teen Driving agreement, check out the websites: Parents Are the Key (CDC), Start Smart (AAA) and Checkpoints(USDHHS & Univ of Michigan)