Because teens are inexperienced, easily distracted, and often over-confident of their driving abilities, they are at a much higher risk of crashing than older drivers. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year olds, killing over 1,600 teens in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Below are some teen driver safety tips and resources that can help decrease the risk of your teen becoming a statistic.
What are some ways for me to keep my teen driver safe on the road?
- Talk about safe driving habits when you are driving or co-piloting. Point out good and bad behaviors on the road. Safe driving conversations are not just a one-time deal; bring it up often for reinforcement.
- Set a good example. They may act as if they are not paying attention, but your kids hear and assimilate what you say and do. If they see you texting and driving for example, expect them to have that habit, too.
- Enroll your teen in a local driver safety class, regardless of whether or not he took Driver’s Ed. These classes really hit home the importance of driving safely. Consider taking the class too to show your commitment to safe driving.
- Set family rules for driving, along with consequences for violations. And then stick to them. There are numerous, freely available parent-teen driving contracts you can print and sign. You might try the AAA StartSmart Parent-Teen Driving Agreement or the CDC’s Parent‐Teen Driving Agreement.
- Take a pledge together with your teen to not text and drive. (In 2014, over 430,000 people were injured and 3,179 were killed in distracted driving-related accidents, reports the NHTSA.) Do not be a part of the problem. It Can Wait is one example of an online pledge you and your teen can take.
- Consider using apps or services that monitor driver behavior. You can search the App Store or Google Play for options, or call your cell phone service provider and inquire about parent-teen monitoring services.
- You might also consider installing a GPS-enabled device in your vehicle that monitors how your teen is driving. These devices can monitor things such as acceleration, location, and braking. Consumer Reports’ review on three models can point you in the right direction.