Nationally the death rate for teens in automobile accidents have decreased dramatically over the past 40 years. However, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in US teens age 16-19, in 2014, 2270 were killed, over 200,000 sustained injuries. Each state is beginning to enact graduated driver’s licenses but most of the time those guidelines are a minimum. There exists much evidence that teens appreciate parental influence in important matters of growing up. When rules are discussed in an open, factual manner, teens are more likely to be familiar with the responsibilities of driving.
Here is a resource that is helpful. Please check out www.youngDRIVERparenting.org for handy facts and a contract to fill out and discuss with your teen.
The agreement covers:
Driving hours – most crashes occur between 9pm and 12am
# of Passengers – crashes increase with one passenger then double with each additional passenger, siblings offer the same level of distraction
Risk taking behaviors – cell phone, texting, loud music, drinking alcohol Seat belt use – each passenger should use restraints appropriately
Bad weather – supervised practice under different conditions
All teens are at risk of motor vehicle accidents because they lack experience in a variety of settings and the judgment that comes from experience. By giving guidelines for a gradual relaxation of rules as experience increases and encouraging open discussion about driving experiences, perhaps we can realize safer driving from our at-risk teens.