National Teen Driver Safety Week

Today marks the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week, a great reminder for parents to have conversations with their young drivers about rules to follow on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six teens a day are killed in car crashes. These deaths are preventable. Talk with your teenage driver about the CDC’s eight defined “danger zones,” which are the leading causes of adolescent motor vehicle accidents:

1)     Driver Inexperience

The risk of an accident is highest during the first year of driving. Ensure your teen has had sufficient supervised practice driving during different times of day and in various road conditions.

2)     Driving with Teen Passengers

New York State’s junior driver license allows one passenger under age 21 in the vehicle. Discuss this law with your teen and explain the increased risk of a crash with other teenage passengers in the vehicle. 

3)     Nighttime Driving

Fatal crashes are more likely to occur at night for all ages, with an even greater risk for adolescents. Practice nighttime driving with your teen and set a driving curfew for their first 6 months behind the wheel.

4)     Not Using Seatbelts

Require your kids to wear seatbelts, no matter how short the car ride, and model this behavior yourself. Routine seatbelt wearing reduces the risk of death or serious injury from a crash by about 50%.

5)     Distracted Driving

Educate your children on the various driver distractions including visual distraction (taking your eyes off the road), manual distraction (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive distraction (taking your mind off driving).

6)     Drowsy Driving

Be aware of your teen’s schedule so you can help judge whether they are well rested enough prior to driving.

7)     Reckless Driving

Lack of experience and maturity leaves teens with less of an ability to judge risky situations. Discuss the importance of obeying the speed limit, reducing speed in hazardous conditions, and leaving enough space between their vehicle and the driver in front of them.

8)     Impaired Driving

Even one drink impairs a teen’s driving ability. Many adolescents are unaware of New York State’s Zero Tolerance Law, which charges drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or more.

Click here for the CDC’s parent-teen driving agreement, which heKeyLogo_300dpilps families create rules to follow on the road. Setting limits and defining consequences helps teens know what is expected of them as drivers.