Expert Roundup – Making Driving Safer For Teens

Learning how to drive is a major milestone for teens. For parents, it can be a highly stressful one. They have every reason to be concerned about their child’s safety on the road.

Here, we have compiled a list of statistics and expert opinions about the risks which teen drivers face. As you will see, parents can help to make driving safer for their teens by using a combination of driver education, proper supervision and modeling of safe driving practices.

HERE’S WHAT THE EXPERTS HAD TO SAY

Teen Driving Roundup

Teen Drivers Face A High Risk For Crashes

“In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17.”

– Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

“Young drivers have higher crash risk due to factors including inexperience, immaturity, and a tendency to engage in high-risk driving behaviors.”

– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Teen Driving Roundup

Teens Who Drive Dangerously Put More Than Themselves At Risk

“Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel.”

– AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Teen Driving Roundup

Graduated Licensing Programs And Driver Training Make An Impact

“While most licensed drivers know the basic traffic rules, few understand the natural laws and physical forces that affect a moving vehicle.”

– Bob Montondo, A-1 Driver Training School in Columbia, S.C.

“Programs that grant privileges to new drivers in phases — known as graduated licensing programs — dramatically reduce the rate of teen driver fatal crashes … [the] programs generally require new drivers to complete three phases before they receive their license. The first stage involves issuing a learner’s permit, in which the new driver must practice driving with a licensed driver aged 21 or older. The second stage allows driving, but only under certain conditions— for example, not late at night, and without teen passengers in the car. After completing these phases, the driver receives a full license—in some states, after reaching age 18.”

– National Institutes of Health

“Driver instructors were asked what piece of advice they would give to teens who are first learning to drive. The most common responses were: practice driving (29%); drive defensively (19%); avoid distractions (17%); and driving is a privilege and responsibility (11%).”

– “AAA Report: Skills of Novice Teen Drivers,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Teen Driving Roundup

Parents Also Play A Key Role In Preventing Teen Accidents

“Parents should not rely solely on driver education classes to teach good driving habits and should restrict night driving, restrict the numbers of passengers riding with their teen, supervise practice driving, always require use of seat belts and choose vehicles for safety, not image. Parents can also set a good example by practicing safe driving themselves.”

– Governors Highway Safety Association

“We encourage parents to talk to their teens about proper judgment and various mistakes that are often made while driving. Many teens are visual learners, so as parents we should make every effort to lead by example. The time you invest in your teen can make them a more defensive and cautious driver. Proper instruction is one of the most important factors in creating safe driving habits for your teenager.”

– Kennedy Drivers Training of Columbia, S.C.

Teen Driving Roundup

Teen Drivers And Electronic Devices – A Deadly Combination

“Seven percent of the people who died in distraction-affected crashes in 2017 [in the U.S.] were teens 15 to 19 years old.”

– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

“Teens who see their parents’ texting while driving are more likely to repeat the same behavior. Teens learn from a parent’s example and pick up the same habits as their parents, both good and bad. Put your phone away every time you get in the car and never text and drive unless you want your teen driver to do the same.”

– Dr. Robert Giesler, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Teen Driving Roundup

Teen Drinking And Driving Is Illegal – And Dangerous

“One in nine high school students has driven after drinking in the past month.”

– S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services

“[In 2016 in the U.S.] nine percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were young drivers [ages 15 to 20]. However, young drivers were only 5.4 percent of all licensed drivers.”

– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

“[An] analysis of drivers involved in fatal DUI-related crashes revealed an alarming statistic: 7.6 percent of drivers in these crashes were aged 15-19, ages at which it is illegal for them to possess or consume alcohol.”

– South Carolina Target Zero traffic safety campaign

friend who has been drinking. Remind them that they can always call you for a ride if they end up in a situation in which alcohol

– Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital

Teen Driving Roundup

Teen Drivers Face A Higher Risk Of Crashes When Driving At Night

“Night driving increases crash risk for all drivers, but that risk is even higher for young inexperienced drivers. Only 14 percent of the miles driven by 16- to 17-year-old drivers occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., yet this time period accounts for 32 percent of fatal crashes in this age group.”

– Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

“The best approach is to give your teen plenty of opportunities to learn how to drive at night—with you (or an adult supervisor) in the car. If this isn’t possible, then only very gradually should you extend the hours they are allowed to keep the car out as they gain experience over the course of their first year.”

– National Safety Council

Teen Driving Roundup

Slowing Down Saves Teen Drivers’ Lives

“[In a phone survey], the percentage of drivers who reported having at least one speeding-related crash during the past five years was higher for the youngest drivers, those 16-20 years old, than for any other age group, even though the youngest drivers may not have been driving for all of the past five years.”

– Governors Highway Safety Association

“Involved parents really can help save lives, so it’s important for parents to coach their teens to slow down, as well as to avoid other common mistakes.”

– Bill Van Tassel, AAA’s Manager of Driver Training Operations

“When you’re out driving with your teen, expose them to different traffic flows and road conditions so they can gain experience. Let them experience being the only car on the road and, as they gain experience, one of many in heavier traffic. … Take them out on a rainy or snowy day and let them learn how the car reacts with less traction and how reducing speed can help them better control the car in these conditions.”

– National Safety Council

Teen Driving Roundup

Always Remind Teen Drivers – Buckle Up!

“Of the young drivers [ages 15 to 20] killed with known restraint use, 47 percent were unrestrained at the time of the crashes in 2016.”

– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

“Seat belts are one of the most important elements of a safety system in motor vehicles, and when worn properly they prevent serious injuries, in adults and children. Unfortunately – and too often – they are forgotten by busy parents. And as kids get older, they also may not buckle up without reminders from parents.”

– Dr. Shireen Atabaki, a physician in Children's Nationals' Emergency Department

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