Getting a driver’s license is exciting for any teenager however might be terrifying for a parent. As a parent, you should stress the importance of safe driving with your teenager. Motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers. Teen drivers ages 16 – 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.
Who is Most at Risk?
- Males: In 2016, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16-19 was 2 times that of their female counterpart
- Teens driving with passengers: teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers
- Newly licensed teens: The fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly 2 times as high for 16-17 year olds as compared with 18-19 year olds.
What Factors put teens at risk?
- Young drivers are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
- Teens are more likely to speed and allow shorter headways
- In 2015, 48% of teen deaths occurred from 3:00 p.m. to midnight and most occurred on the weekend.
- Teens have the lowest rate among seatbelt use
- In 2015, among males drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes – 32% were speeding and 22% had been drinking.
As a parent, what can you do?
- Provide many hours of supervised driving practice over at least a 6 month period. Also make sure to practice driving in various weather conditions.
- Make sure you teen is off the road by 9 or 10:00 p.m. for at least the first 6 months of driving.
- Require your teen to wear a seatbelt on every trip. As a parent, you should also always wear your seatbelt.
- Don’t allow activities that may take your teen’s attention away from driving, such as talking on the phone or texting. Driving distracted is a big issue among teens.
- Make sure your teen knows to follow the speed limit and how to adjust speed to match road conditions.
- Let your teen know about drinking and driving. Even one drink will impair driving ability and increase their risk of a crash.