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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” campaign identifies the five most important rules all teen drivers need to follow:
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.
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.
We are excited to hear this trend is continuing, especially with Red Ribbon Week just around the corner Find out how you can help reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting www.madd.org/redribbonweek to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.
by 15 year old Sarah Haiken, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group
My name is Sarah Haiken and I am a 15 year old Junior from New York. While getting back into my school routine, the nerves of being accepted have arrived. I am often anxious that my strict views on underage drinking will cause my peers to make me an outcast. However, I have learned to control this fear by avoiding situations where alcohol may be involved. I do this by having a code word with my parents. Whenever I don't feel comfortable somewhere, I can text or call my parents saying the code word and they know to pick me up. This allows me to blame my parents for not doing something I don't feel comfortable with, and my peers cannot pressure me or make fun of me for it. It's the perfect way for me to get out of a situation without feeling "uncool."
According to a new poll released by Gallup, 74 percent of Americans are against lowering the drinking age to 18 while only 25 percent would favor it.
Graph from gallup.com
At MADD, we support the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age law because it prevents tragedies—decreasing crashes by an estimated sixteen percent and saving more than 25,000 lives. Click here to read more reasons why 21 saves lives.
Summer is drawing to an end, and kids are headed back to school (whether they like it or not). But parents, do you have the supplies you need to make this a successful school year? No, we’re not talking about backpacks and pencils.We’re talking about the tools every parent needs to keep their kids safe.
Did you know alcohol kills more teens than all other drugs combined? That’s why it is so important to talk with your teens about underage drinking. But we know that this can seem like a daunting task, which is why we created the Power of Parents® program to provide parents with proven tips and tools tohelp your kidsstay alcohol-free this school year.
Here are seven tips for getting through to your teen:
Communicate before a problem starts – Have important discussions now, before there’s blame, anger or punishment. Agree on a time to start talking together about the dangers of alcohol.
Discuss rules and consequences – Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act, and why. Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking. Agree on consequences of broken rules.
Show you care – Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection. Tell your teen you love them and want them to be healthy and safe. Explain that’s why you need to talk together about the dangers of underage drinking.
Pay attention – Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen. Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing.
Share family activities – Have dinner together at least three times a week.
Give and get respect – When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully. Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.
Enforce consequences consistently – If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.