Parents often worry about their kids’ safety, and they have good reason to be concerned when their teen gets behind the wheel. Young, inexperienced drivers are the most crash-prone drivers on the road. In fact, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.
Talking to your kids about the dangers of driving is one of the best things you can do to keep them safe on the road, but many parents just assume their teens get this information elsewhere, so they don’t have the conversation.
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.
- No Alcohol. Even though the minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 28 percent of the drivers killed had been drinking. And we know that drunk driving crashes are not the only danger to teens when it comes to alcohol, so talk with your teen about the risks of underage drinking. Use our Power of Parents® handbook to help get the conversation started.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers. By comparison, 30 percent of all fatal crashes that year involved speeding.
- 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.
Talk to your kids—this week and every week—about how to be smart and safe behind the wheel.
For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign visit www.safercar.gov/parents.