This week, October 15-21, is National Teen Driver Safety Week. For teen drivers, learning to drive safely and responsibly can be a challenge. Unfortunately, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for 15 to 18-year-olds in the United States with 1,972 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2015, and 99,000 teen drivers injured that same year.
For those of you with young drivers at home or in the family, there are steps that can be taken to prepare them for the responsibilities of the road.
Remind your teen to always wear a seatbelt. “In 2015, a total of 531 passengers died in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers. And 58 percent of those passengers were NOT wearing their seatbelts at the time of the fatal crash,” according to the United States Department of Transportation. Teens learn by example. Be sure to wear your own seatbelt to demonstrate proper driving a passenger safety measures. Your teen being safe can influence their peers to be responsible as well. Regrettably, just as they are influenced to be responsible by one another, they also tend to make poor decisions based on each other’s actions. “84 percent of cases when the teen driver was unbuckled, the passengers were also unbuckled,” United States Department of Transportation. Remind your young driver to be safe for themselves and to be an example for their friends.
Teen impaired and distracted driving
Talk to your teen about the hazards of driving while impaired can also help reduce accidents. In 2015 one out of five teen drivers involved in a fatal accident had been drinking. Prescription and illegal drugs can also impair their driving. If alcohol use is an issue with your teen, you may consider getting a voluntary ignition interlock device for their vehicle. This device would make it impossible for them to start the vehicle if they have any alcohol in their system.
Speeding is another big issue when it comes to teen driver safety. 29% of all teen drivers involved in deadly crashes were speeding at the time of the accident.
With demands from school, work, social life, and athletic teams, it can be hard for a teenager to get enough sleep. Drowsy driving has the potential to be just as dangerous as impaired driving. Check-in with your young driver to make sure they are getting enough rest before they get behind the wheel.
And finally, 10 percent of young drivers involved in a fatal crash were distracted at the time of the crash. Be firm with them. Remind them to not text or do anything else that takes their attention away from the road while driving.
By taking these steps, we can hope for a safer future for our teens.
For updated tips on how to teach your teen safe driving habits, visit our National Teen Driver Safety Week 2018 blog post