Are you not sure how to talk to your teen about safe driving? Lucky for you, there are plenty of materials to help you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created talking points, fact sheets, and safety tips for parents with teen drivers. They also made downloadable banners, infographics, and messages for use on social media. Many of the items are available in both English and Spanish.
The materials are part of Teen Driver Safety Week, which is October 15 to 21, 2017. The annual event focuses on raising awareness of the dangers teen drivers face and providing strategies to address those risks.
Safe Driving Tips for Your Teen
Many teen driver accidents are avoidable. Follow these safety tips to reduce risk of accidents:
- Make wearing a seat belt on every drive non-negotiable, no matter how short a trip. Over half of the teens killed in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt, reports the NHTSA.
- Have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Tell your teen to call you, a taxi, an Uber, or another rideshare if they’d been drinking; assure them they will not be in trouble for calling for a ride home after drinking.
- Reach an agreement with your teen driver about your family’s rules for driving. Put the contract in writing, signed by both of you. Include consequences for violations.
- Enforce the contract when your teen breaks a rule.
- Have regular conversations with your teen about safe driving strategies, focusing on positive ways to avoid problems on the road.
- Set a good example. As with anything else, your kids are more likely to do as you do, not as you say.
- Let your teen take the wheel sometimes when you are going places together. Observe your teen’s driving behavior and offer suggestions on safe driving techniques.
Can Technology Help Prevent Teen Crashes?
Possibly. GMC has designed teen driver technology for some new cars. Other manufacturers are expected to follow suit. The Teen Driver mode is activated in the vehicle when your child uses his key fob registered with the Teen Driver program. The system can limit some vehicle features, record driving details, and coach the new driver. Parents can customize the program to:
- Mute the audio if there is an unfastened seat belt.
- Create a “Report Card” of miles driven, maximum speed, and the number of times the teen driver exceeded the speed limit.
- Limit the audio volume.
- Limit the top speed at which the teen can drive.
Are Teen Drivers at Greater Risk Than Older Drivers?
Absolutely. Nothing kills more teens every year in the United States than motor vehicle crashes. No disease, illness, violence or other unintentional injury takes more teen lives. More than 220,000 teens went to the emergency room for treatment of injuries from car accidents in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2015, more than 2,300 American teens between the ages of 16 and 19 lost their lives in crashes. Teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have nearly triple the risk of dying in a car crash than drivers who are 20 or older, reports the CDC.
Through mindful strategies, you can help your teen driver stay safe on the road. If you or your teen suffer injuries in a crash that is not your fault, call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to set up a consultation about your case.