Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, with teens involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. This is caused by inexperience and immaturity, combined with:
- Drinking and driving and drug use
- Not wearing seat belts
- Distracted driving (e.g., cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers)
- Drowsy driving
- Driving at night
What You Can Do
A Liberty Mutual Insurance survey showed that 69% of parents of teen drivers practice at least two dangerous or distracting behaviors while driving. You can help reduce the dangers of distracted driving—especially texting while driving—by setting a good example of safe driving.
- Discuss texting with your kids. Look at your phone bill to understand how often your kids text. Bring up the dangers of texting while driving with your teens.
- When you know your teen might be driving, don’t call. When you do call, ask your teen if he or she is driving. If the answer is yes, ask your teen to pull over and call you back.
- 5 to Drive (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). A website with advice, suggested rules and creative educational materials for parents and teens on topics such as seat belt use, graduated drivers license (GDL) laws, and youth access to alcohol.
- Countdown2Drive (Safe Kids Worldwide). Resources to help families build passenger agreements and set a tone of mutual respect as younger teens approach driving age.