Summer is near, and teen drivers everywhere are eagerly awaiting vacation days spent with friends. Often, this means driving to and from various locations, or just cruising around. So it’s important to know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest season for teen drivers.
Before summer vacation is in full swing, talk with your teens about safe driving:
- Talk with your teens about underage drinking. It’s illegal and dangerous – and we’re not just talking about drunk driving. Over two-thirds of all deaths associated with underage drinking are not on the roadways (learn more). Have your teens take our Power of You(th) pledge to not drink until 21 and never ride with someone who has been drinking.
- Always wear a safety belt. The simplest way to prevent car crash deaths is to buckle up. According to the CDC, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and only 54 percent of high school students reported wearing seat belts when riding with someone else. Talk to your teen about the importance of safety belts for passengers, as well as the driver.
- Limit the number of passengers. Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car. According to the CDC, nearly two out of three teen crash deaths that involve 16-year-old drivers happen when a new driver has one or more teen passengers.
- Limit night time driving. It’s important for teens to practice night driving, but set restrictions on their driving times.
- Create a parent-teen driving agreement. Reinforce your talks by working with your teen to create a parent-teen driving agreement. Learn more and download the parent-teen driving agreement from the CDC’s website.
When it comes to keeping teen drivers safe, parents are the key. So talk with your teens about safe driving habits, and more importantly, be a role model. Always practice safe driving habits like buckling up, avoiding distractions, and never drive after drinking.