your teen safe behind the wheel
year, like every year, more than 5,000 teens will likely
die on America’s roads.
National Teen Driver Safety Week, established by Congress in
2007, aims to focus attention on
the nation’s epidemic of teen car crashes and to find
One of the biggest dangers facing teenagers may be sitting
right next to them — in the driver’s or passenger’s
seat. Nothing kills more teens than car crashes, and little
is riskier for new drivers than teen passengers. That’s
why newly licensed drivers should wait 1,000 miles or six
months before picking up their first teen passenger.
are many well-known factors that raise a teen driver’s
risk of getting in a fatal crash: Speeding, drinking, talking
on a cell phone and driving at night are among them. Yet
another dangerous factor that recent research shows few
teens recognize: Peer passengers.
one teen passenger doubles the risk a teen driver will
get into a fatal crash; three or more passengers quadruples
Let’s repeat those statistics:
Drivers + Peer Passengers = Higher Fatal Crash Risk
passenger = 2x Fatal Crash Risk
or more passengers = 4–5x
Fatal Crash Risk
a recent study by The Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia found that only one in 10 teens
knows that giving a friend a ride is dangerous.
The risk is not just for the driver: Another study released
in 2008 found that starting at ages 12 to 14, a child
passenger’s risk of dying in a crash
with a teen driver doubles, and the risk continues to rise for each teen year.
Most teen passengers who die in crashes are riding with a teen driver.
Here’s what another survey found:
vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American
teenagers, killing between
5,000 and 6,000 teenagers every year.
other kind of hazard comes close to claiming as many teenage
homicides (13 percent) and suicides (11 percent).
drivers account for 12.6 percent of all drivers involved
in fatal crashes.
fatal crash rates among 16- to 19-year-olds is four times
that of older drivers.
is the highest at age 16, when the fatal crash rate is 40
percent higher than for 18- year-olds
and 30 percent
percent of teens said they make and answer phone calls while
on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident
and can slow a young driver’s
reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.
percent of teens said they send and respond to text messages
percent of teens said speeding is fun.
percent of teens said they exceed the speed limit by more
than 10 mph.
percent of self-identified "aggressive" teen
drivers reported speeding by more than
20 mph over the limit.
percent of teens who speed said they do so because they want
to keep up with
percent of teens said they drive more safely without
in the car.
percent of teens said they have felt unsafe when someone
else was driving.
45 percent said they would definitely speak up if
someone were driving in
a way that scared
percent said they would ride with one
or more friends who
teens need to learn to
care about their
does it mean
to drive like
you care? First of
all, it means
what the teen
for the first
6 months after they get their license.
six months, they should only transport a single teen or child
They should wait another six months before driving more than one teen or child
precautions will give new drivers time to become familiar
without an adult.
there are other allies in the fight against teen highway
Belts: Wearing lap/shoulder belts can reduce the risk of
dying in a crash by
45 percent. Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use.
- Curfews: More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between
the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Almost 60 percent of teens’ night
time auto deaths occur before midnight.
teenager made the
safe driving promise
your teen to sign, with you, the Driving Agreement on this
parents feel they "trust" their teen
so, do not need to complete a safe driving contract.
The issue isn't
the issue is
safety. And 75 percent of teens say
their parents are
the best influence in getting them to drive more safely.
this contract as a model. Feel free to edit it and personalize
to your situation.
it and provide a copy to the teenager. For your teen’s
sake, do not allow him or her to drive independently until
a date to revise it after a period of time during which the
drives. Schedule the review date and put it on the calendar. On this review
through it and change the agreement a little (or a lot)
based on experience.
stricter if the teen's
behavior with the
Make it a bit more
lenient, perhaps, if the teen is doing well. You can
start with a strict contract,
but commit to revisit and possibly revise it after
a few weeks.
Safe Driving Promise)