Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States? In 2014, there were 2,679 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, and more than 120,000 teens were injured on the road. In fact, teen drivers are involved in three times as many fatal accidents as all other drivers. One major factor that increases the risk of a crash is impaired driving, which includes alcohol and drug use, as well as distraction, fatigue, and strong emotions. Teen drivers also crash because they are inexperienced at judging gaps in traffic and adjusting driving speed for road and weather conditions.
This year, National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 16-22 and a great opportunity to start a conversation with your teen driver about the rules of the road. The many dangers of driving include distracted driving, alcohol use, excessive speeding, driving with extra passengers, and forgetting to buckle up. Research shows that many teens understand they are vulnerable and are aware of the many risks and responsibilities of driving. The most effective way to share safety messages with your teen driver is to focus on the positive actions they can take to be safe on the road.