Help Your Teen Understand Driving Safely

It’s no myth. The age group with the highest risk for crashes and traffic violations is teenagers ages 16 to 19. In fact, crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.


Why? First, teens lack experience and skill. The riskiest time is within the first 6 months of getting their license. Teens also wear seat belts less frequently than older drivers, and tend to take more risks—either through overconfidence in their driving abilities, or outright high-risk behaviors like speeding, tailgating, and making illegal turns.


Take note: Teens’ risks increase when they have passengers. For 16- and 17-year-olds, the risks of being in a fatal crash are 3.6 times higher when teens drive with passengers than when they are alone. When driving with friends, teens are more distracted.


Night driving is also riskier for teen drivers. The crash rate is 3 times higher after 9 PM than during the day. This is due to factors such as lack of experience to handle more difficult driving conditions, sleep deprivation, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


To help protect your teen on the road, put rules in place until they become more experienced drivers, including:

  • Limit the distance your teen can drive.
  • Restrict night driving.
  • Enforce seat belt use.
  • Restrict or prohibit passengers.
  • Restrict cellphone use.
  • Educate your teen about the dangers of impaired driving.

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