Did you know that "half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school,” according to the National Safety Council (NSC). School is starting back for several areas of Southeast Texas and that means more drivers on the road during the mornings and afternoons. That includes new drivers who are able to transport themselves, and possibly family members, to and from school. NSC reminds us that parents should stay involved with their child’s driving practices, even after the child receives their license. Continuing to practice and educate new drivers can help decrease their chances of being involved in a crash.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of accident death among teenagers.” That type of fatality is one-third of all deaths to teenagers, ages 12-19 years. The National Organization for Youth Safety has these statistics relating to teen driving:
- 66% of teen passengers who die in a crash are not wearing a seat belt
- 58% of teens involved in crashes are distracted
- 25% of car crashes involved an underage drinking driver
- 5% of teen deaths in crashes are pedestrians and 10% are bicyclists
Drivers of any age may face the same risks each time we get behind the wheel, but one difference is older drivers have gained experience. As we drive, we learn how to avoid risks and recognize hazards. Drive It Home offers these tips for helping educate teen drivers:
- Practice with new drivers – let them drive and schedule time to practice each week. Practice should not stop after a new driver receives their license. Continue to practice and see how they are doing.
- Set a good example – "drive the way you want your teen to drive.” Children learn from their parents and those around them, set a good example early on. This does not stop after they have their license, they continue to observe and pay attention to how others drive.
- Sign the new driver deal – Drive It Home has created the New Driver Deal that sets expectations for both parents and teens.
- Let teens earn privileges – think about gradually adding privileges for your new driver. Driving at night has a high risk of accidents for new drivers. Consider adding the option of driving later in the evening as they gain experience.
- Parents should discuss their feelings about teen driver safety with each other – it can be difficult to enforce rules with your teen if "parents of their friends don’t follow suit.” Also, be aware of who your children are riding with since other new drivers may have no restrictions. Be sure you feel comfortable with who is driving the car with your teen.
Practice makes perfect and it is important to continue to talk about safe driving habits and practice with new drivers. Take time to help build a safe environment for everyone. Have a wonderful start back to school!
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!