Here’s a scary statistic for teenage drivers and their parents:
Per mile driven, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are nearly three times as likely as drivers aged 20 or older to be in a fatal crash.
May has been designated National Youth Traffic Safety Month to call attention to the problem and encourage parents to educate and hold their teens accountable behind the wheel. Several factors lead to driving concerns for teens. Poor decision making, such as not wearing a seatbelt, distracted driving, speeding and alcohol/drug use, often plays a part.
So, what can you do to help your kids?
Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving.
Become an effective driving coach. The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving, where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together.
Limit the number of teen passengers and time as a passenger. Teen crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19- year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers.
Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles when driving at night. Many parents rightly limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet they should limit evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
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