National Teen Driver Safety Week
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
This year, National Teen Driver Safety Week started on October 16th. Since car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is raising awareness about the dangers and risks facing teen drivers across the country. During National Teen Driver Safety Week, parents and caregivers are encouraged to talk to their teen drivers about a variety of dangers associated with driving. This includes the five critical risk factors for teens behind the wheel.
Although motor vehicle crashes are the number-one killer of teens in America, research shows that only about 25% of parents report having a serious talk with their children about the key components of safe driving. If you’re not sure where to start, the NHTSA has materials, checklists, and helpful suggestions for starting a dialogue about safe driving with your teen.
U.S. Teen Driver Facts
- 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
- 56% of teens said they talk on the phone while driving.
- Statistics show that 16 and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
- Only 44% of teens said they would definitely speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.
- Teen drivers with involved parents are twice as likely to wear seatbelts.
- More than 40% of teen auto deaths occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Teen drivers are three times more likely to engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel with multiple teen passengers.
Five Critical Safety Risks Facing Teen Drivers
When it comes to teen drivers, data shows that there are five critical safety risks closely associated. Alcohol, cell phone use, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, and peer passengers are risk factors that can dramatically increase the likelihood of your teen being involving in an injury-causing or potentially fatal wreck. Additionally, issues like alcohol and distracted driving are dangerous and often talked about. However, how often do we talk about seatbelt usage and teen passengers as critical risk factors?
The NHTSA and Safercar.gov have put together five important rules that address these critical risk factors facing teen drivers. The “5 to Drive” rules for teen driver safety are a good place to start when speaking with your child about safe driving behaviors.
Listed below are the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for teen drivers.
5 to Drive Rules for Teens
- No drinking and driving
- Buckle up, for every trip, every time
- No distracted driving
- Don’t exceed the speed limit
- No more than one passenger at any time
Buckling up can help save your life.
Teens and Distracted Driving
While distracted driving has become an epidemic in Texas and across the nation, teen drivers are at particularly high risk for engaging in texting and other cell phone-related distracted behaviors behind the wheel. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to set an example for their new drivers by never engaging in distracted driving. Having a zero-tolerance policy for cell phone use behind the wheel is a great place to start for the whole family.
Parents Should Talk to Their Kids About the Dangers of Distracted Driving
There is absolutely no safe way for teens or drivers of any other age groups to engage in texting or other distracting behaviors behind the wheel. Put your cell phone in the backseat or turn the ringer off. This is a perfect tip to end distracted driving.
Opening a dialogue about the dangers of distracted driving is essential, and parents are encouraged to participate in the same anti-distracted driving policies that they’re asking teen drivers to abide by.
Start the Conversation
The most important part of National Teen Driver Safety Week is starting a dialogue with young drivers. The NHTSA is heartily encouraging parents and caregivers to engage with and start conversations about the broader and more specific risk factors and dangers impacting teen drivers today. Talking to young drivers does make a difference.
Safety advocates continuously remind parents that driver education starts at home. Teens need dialogue at home, even if they are in a driver education class. Some research suggests that traditional driver education classes fail to show a decrease in crash rates among teen drivers who participate in programs. These classes may not be enough to improve your teen’s safety behind the wheel.
Teen Drivers in Conroe
We encourage parents in Conroe to be proactive in their teen driver’s education and safety behind the wheel. The NHTSA and Safercar.gov have the resources to help you get started.