Who’s at risk?
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens age 15 to 19. And the risk of being in a car crash is highest during the first 12 to 24 months of driving. One out of every five 16-year-olds will be in a car crash. Driving at night, with other passengers in the car, or while using a cell phone greatly increases young drivers’ risk.
You can help your teen stay safe on the road. Here’s how:
- Select an appropriate vehicle. Size and safety features play a big part in crash prevention and occupant protection. Generally, larger cars and minivans offer more protection than sporty models and small to mid-size SUVs.
- Include supervised driving practice in your family's daily routine.
- Restrict your teen's night driving until he has more experience, and limit the number of passengers.
- Reinforce the importance of:
Using seat belts, in the front and back seats. Studies show that two thirds of teens killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.
Avoiding alcohol and drugs. Every state has zero tolerance laws for underage drivers who drink.
Following posted speed limits. More than a third of teen driver fatalities involve speeding.
Avoiding distractions, including cell phones.
Staying alert while driving. Teens need more sleep than adults do.
Staying cool. Whether motivated by emotion, running late, or just bad driving habits, reckless driving causes crashes.
- Establish a Parent/Teen Agreement on driving privileges. You’ll find one in the National Safety Council’s Teen Driver: A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety. The Family Guide Agreement gives guidelines for driving privileges that are based on what research shows reduced teen driver crash risk.
Content used with permission from the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.
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This content was last modified on: 08/11/2008