October 21, 2013
Communication and Education are Key
As of October 17, 800 people have been killed on Tennessee roadways in 2013. Car crashes remain the leading killer of teens, and collisions caused by teen drivers also affect other drivers. Teen Driver Safety Week is a unique opportunity for us to focus on this national problem.
National Teen Driver Safety Week is an opportunity to work together and create a dialogue between parents and teens about safe and responsible driving. Having this dedicated week allows us to revisit some important issues like distracted and reckless driving, seatbelt use, and speed.
Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to reduce the risk of a tragic car crash involving their teens. Research studies show that parental involvement is a key factor in protecting teen drivers. Research also shows that parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower the crash risk by 50 percent. Teens with involved parents are also:
- twice as likely to wear seat belts;
- Seventy percent less likely to drink and drive;
- half as likely to speed
- Thirty percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving.
Here are some tips that parents can follow to keep their teen driver safe:
Tip 1: Establish clear house rules for driving that all family members must follow. The following are examples of rules for accountability:
- Seatbelts must be worn at all times.
- Speed limits must be obeyed. Speeding is one of the main factors contributing to a crash.
- No cell phone/texting behind the wheel. Keep your eyes on the road and off the phone.
Tip 2: Sign a parent-teen driving contract to set reasonable expectations and establish limits for teen drivers. This contract, in writing, lays out the rules, responsibilities, and consequences of driving behavior and actions. Spelling out consequences for poor driving behavior is important, but, also, set up rewards for good driving behavior and improvement.
Tip 3: Be a good driving role model and obey your own house rules. Believe it or not, your teen pays attention to your example, so wear your seatbelt, don't drink and drive, and put your cell phone away when driving.
Tip 4: Stay involved in your teen's driving experience, even if they have their license and experience driving alone.
Remember; keep the lines of communication open! For information on our teen driving program visit:
Related Links: Teen Motor Vehicle Safety Program
Tags: Safety, Adolescent and Young Adult Health
© 2013 Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt