October 19-25 is Teen Driver Safety Week, and it’s a great time for parents to talk to their teen drivers about the risks they face.
- · Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 14-18 in America.
- · Newly licensed teens: Crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure.
- · 56% of teens said they talk on the phone while driving.
- · Only 44% of teens said they would definitely speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.
- · Statistics show that 16 and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
Every parent should talk to their teens about the rules of safe driving, but a recent survey shows that only 25 percent of parents have done so.
Eight Danger Zones: Make sure your young driver is aware of the leading causes of teen crashes:
- · Driver inexperience
- · Driving with teen passengers
- · Nighttime driving
- · Not using seat belts
- · Distracted driving
- · Drowsy driving
- · Reckless driving
- · Impaired driving
WHAT DO I DO?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has teamed up with state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations on the teen driver safety campaign “5 to Drive.”
1. No Drinking and Driving. Compared with other age groups, teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes.
2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. In 2012, of all the young (15- to 20-year-old) passenger vehicle drivers killed in crashes, more than half (55%) of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by their phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. Don’t allow activities that may take your teen’s attention away from driving, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, or playing with the radio.
4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48 percent) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers. By comparison, 30 percent of all fatal crashes that year involved speeding.
5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
6. Provide at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least six months. Make sure to practice on a variety of roads, at different times of day, and in varied weather and traffic conditions. This will help your teen gain the skills he or she needs to be safe. Help your teen avoid insufficient scanning. Stress the importance of continually scanning for potential hazards including other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
7. Make sure your teen is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. for at least the first six months of licensed driving.
8. Be sure your teen is fully rested before he or she gets behind the wheel.
9. Make sure your teen knows to follow the speed limit and adjust speed to road conditions. Remind your teen to maintain enough space behind the vehicle ahead to avoid a crash in case of a sudden stop.
10. Be a good role model: don’t drink and drive, and reinforce this message with your teen.
11. Sign a Teen Driving agreement: http://www.cdc.gov/ParentsAreTheKey/pdf/Parent_Teen_Driving_Agreement-a.pdf
For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign visit www.safercar.gov/parents, CDC and others