This week – and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.
Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
- In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 755 deaths were the teen driver – a 3% decrease from 2016.
- Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks.
It doesn’t matter whether your teen drives a car, pickup truck, or SUV — the rules of the road stay the same no matter what. Talk to them about driving safety all year long.
- Cell phone usage is not only a dangerous while driving but it is also illegal. Stress the importance of putting it away.
- Speeding is especially deadly for teen drivers: In 2017, 27% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to slow down and obey the posted speed limits. They should also adjust their speed to road and weather conditions.
- Safe driving requires 100% attention. Make sure your teen is alert and free of any distractions. In 2017, 9% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
- Research shows the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. Enforce a passenger maximum (or NO passengers) rule for your teen driver.
- Your teens are too young to buy or consume alcohol, but some still find a way: In 2017, 15% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.
- Seat belts are a simple way to stay safe in any vehicle. Remind your teen driver to buckle up — every trip, every time — and to make sure their passengers do too.
Teach your teen driver to be a safe driver during National Teen Driver Safety Week, and every day. If they can’t handle the rules of the road, they can’t handle the keys to the car.