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National Teen Driver Safety Week: Teen Driving Tips

Oct 18-24 2015 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.  This year’s theme “Avoid the Regret, Avoid Impaired Driving” aims to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving. The Teen Driver’s Source at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) states that “impaired driving not only includes alcohol or drug use, but also being distracted, tired, or strongly emotional.”

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Teen Driving Statistics

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the first month of driving after getting a license is the most dangerous. Teens ages 16-19 are more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash than any other age group and six teens ages 16-19 die from injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes every day. Talking to your teen about the dangers of driving and keeping an open line of communication may help save a life.

The Association Between Parenting Style and Teen Driving Behaviors

It is crucial for parents to be aware of their child’s whereabouts in a supportive way. Researchers at CHOP found that teens with parents who were supportive and set rules in a helpful way were half as likely to be in a crash and were 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated compared to teens with less involved parents. Teens with supportive parents who set rules were also more likely to wear a seatbelt and less likely to speed or use a cell phone while driving. Whether you have teenage children yourself or have a younger sibling who is a teen, talking to a teen about impaired and distracted driving in a supportive way can help him or her make safer decisions. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends five topics on teen driver safety to talk to your teen about.

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5 Rules For Teen Driver Safety

  1. No cell phone use or texting while driving. The call, text or snapchat can wait. If it is an emergency, tell your teen to pull over or park in a parking lot.
  2. No extra passengers. More people in the car = more distractions. For teens, the risk of a fatal crash rises with each additional passenger in the car. Some states have implemented laws limiting the number of passengers a teen can drive. But, sometimes a teen may be peer pressured to drive a group of friends, especially if he or she is the only one with a license. It is important for parents to address this with their teen and decide on a plan of action to follow if this happens.
  3. No speeding. The CDC reports that “speeding was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver” in 2011.
  4. Buckle up whether you’re the driver or passenger. Even if you are “just going down the block”, wearing a seatbelt is crucial. The CDC states that “in 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.” When you drive with your teen, look to make sure he or she is putting on a seatbelt. Encourage your teen to get in the habit of wearing a seatbelt every time he or she gets into a car; it should be second nature.
  5. No driving after alcohol or drug use. Underage drinking is not uncommon. Keep the line of communication between you and your teen open. Tell your teen that they can always call you for a ride instead of getting into a car with an impaired driver or driving themselves. CHOP offers great tips for parents to help teens plan for avoiding impaired driving.

Be a Positive Role Model

In addition to talking to your teen about these topics, follow the rules yourself (excluding the no extra passengers rule). If your child sees you driving without a seatbelt or texting while driving, he or she may think it’s okay to do so also. If you are out drinking alcohol, use a designated driver or take a cab or Uber home to show your teen that you are making safe decisions.

Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

According to the CDC, while young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females. Paying for injuries sustained in a crash is expensive. If you or a loved one has been in a car crash due to an impaired young driver, a Philadelphia car accident lawyer at Kane and Silverman can help get you compensated. Contact us for a free evaluation at 215-232-1000.