Nothing is more exhilarating for a teenager than the moment he or she first gets behind the wheel without a parent in the passenger seat.
But for the parents, this can also be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of their lives. And they should be worried.
Tragically, auto and truck collisions are the number one cause of deaths for 14 to 18 year olds in the United States.
In 2013, 2,614 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes and 130,000 were injured.
A recent study revealed that while most adults passed basic driving tests without crashing, almost one-half of teenagers crashed even after they had gone through drivers education classes and obtained their licenses.
And a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration survey found that only one-quarter of parents talked to their kids about safe driving.
Fortunately, NHTSA has come up with several innovative new programs to make our kids drive safer.
National Teen Driver Safety Week gives you an opportunity to engage your teen in what it means to be a safe driver and set lifelong standards.
The new campaign encourages parents to discuss the “5 to Drive” rules with their young drivers which address the dangers of:
- Alcohol: Drinking and driving is not acceptable at any age and drinking alcohol before age 21 is illegal.
- Texting: Never talk on the phone, text or otherwise use an electronic device while driving.
- Seat belts: The driver and all passengers, front and back, should wear a seat belt every time they drive.
- Speeding: Speeding is a leading cause of teen crashes. Double the speed equals quadruple the stopping distance.
- Extra passengers: Teens under 18 with a provisional license are restricted from having more than one passenger besides a family member in the car while driving in Texas.
Win Prizes for Safe Driving
The Teens in the Driver Seat program is run by teens for teens. Our kids do listen to their parents, but fellow teens often have a special bond that can make peer-to-peer programs more powerful.
The 2015-2016 Teens in the Driver Seat Cup is now underway. Teams of teens compete in various contests to win money for their schools.
The TDS 9th Annual Driving the Message Contest begins October 14. Cash prizes are up for grabs for winners of this poster and video design competition.
Nominate a teacher, sponsor, counselor, school administrator or another adult who has been an important part of your teen driving safety program for the TDS 2016 SponStar Nominations.
Parents Can Make the DIfference
Parents, please set a good example for your kids and have a serious talk about the dangers of alcohol, non-use of seat belts, texting, speeding and extra passengers while they drive.