Safer Teen Driving Can Prevent Accidents

Parents often have a hard time handing over the keys when their teenage sons and daughters learn how to drive. They can experience a mix of emotions, especially fear and anxiety, and rightfully so. According to the CDC, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Research from 2009 suggests that eight teenagers aged 16 to 19 die in motor vehicle accidents every day across the nation. This same age group is four times more likely to get in a wreck than any other age group.

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for teenagers throughout the nation, and National Teen Driver Safety Week, held from October 16-22, highlighted the importance of teenage driving safety. This year, the focus was on the importance of parents supervising the driving habits of their teenagers as well as establishing and enforcing rules. Research has proven that teens with parents who limit their driving privileges do not have as many crashes and traffic citations.

What can parents do to help?

  • Teach your teen to drive safely.
  • Have candid discussions with your teen.
  • Manage the time your teen is allowed to drive.
  • Set rules for your teenage driver.
  • Set curfews and specific boundaries.
  • Monitor your teen's driving behaviors.
  • Educate your teen about driving risks that cause accidents.
  • Lead by example - do not text behind the wheel.
  • Do not let your teen drive with friends for the first six months.

When parents are closely involved in a helpful, supportive way, their teens are less likely to be involved in car crashes. Because the first 500 miles for teenage drivers are the most dangerous, parents need to carefully monitor and set rules and consequences before their teens get behind the wheel. Sadly, teenagers are not the only ones who suffer in auto accidents. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that two-thirds of those who die in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers are the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. This is why it is so critical that everyone practice safe driving habits.