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Teenaged Driver

Talk to Teen Drivers About the Rules of the Road Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States — ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.

In 2015 alone, there were 1,972 teen drivers (15 to 18 years old) in cars, trucks, and SUV's involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths among people of all ages nationwide, while 1,730 were teens. An estimated 99,000 teen drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Parents can take a simple step to help protect their teen drivers from these tragedies and change these numbers by talking with their teenagers about ways to reduce some of the risks when their teens are behind the wheel.

Teen drivers may get some information on safe driving rules and techniques from school, driver education, or graduated driver licensing programs, but family conversations about safe driving behaviors can make a huge—and potentially lifesaving—difference. Surveys show that teens whose parents set some firm rules for driving typically engage in fewer risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.

That’s why all parents are invited to take part in National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 15-21, 2017, as a reminder to regularly talk to their teens about the risks they face while driving or riding in a vehicle.

During the week, State and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help promote tips on how to start conversations with their teen drivers about the must-follow rules of the road:

1. No Drinking and Driving. All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2015, almost one out of five teen passenger-vehicle drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences and impaired driving laws are strictly enforced.

2. Buckle Up—Every Trip, Every Time. Everyone—Front Seat and Back. Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle, and it is required in all 50 States. Yet too many teens are not buckling up, and neither are their passengers. In 2015, 531 passengers died in a car, truck, or SUV driven by a teen driver, and 58 percent of those passengers were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. Even more troubling, in 84 percent of cases when the teen driver was unbuckled, the passengers were also unbuckled. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what – front seat and back. 

3. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. Distractions while driving are more than just risky—they can have deadly consequences. In 2015, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or using the phone while driving. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.

4. Follow the Posted Speed Limit. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially teens. In 2015, almost one-third (29%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to always stay within the speed limit.

5. Passengers. Passengers in a teen’s car can lead to disastrous consequences. In a NHTSA study, teen drivers were 2.5 times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer, when compared to driving alone. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

6. Avoid Driving Tired. Teens are busier than ever – studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and spending time with friends are among the long list of things they do to fill their time. However, with all of these activities, teens tend to compromise something very important-sleep. This is a dangerous habit that can lead to drowsy driving. Make sure your teen gets a good night’s sleep; their grades, their friends, their passengers, and other drivers will thank them because they’ll be a safer driver. 

Parents, this week and every week, educate your teen drivers about these rules to reduce road risks. NHTSA provides the tools you need to start and continue these lifesaving conversations.

For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and safe driving tips for your teens, please visit

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SOURCE - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Parents Can Help Protect Teen Drivers on the Road
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