It is exciting and stressful when your teen gets their driver’s license. Independence is at hand for your teen. A scary new world of a powerful vehicle under the complete control of your teen and his or her decisions. Driving and traffic laws are designed to keep everyone safe on the roads. There are so many current dangers of distracted teen driving.
3 Types of Distractions
Visual distractions get your attention and make you look, thus taking your eyes off the road.
Manual distractions occupy one or both hands or feet and you remove them from the steering wheel, or brake.
Cognitive distraction is something that takes your mind off your driving.
Parents are the Key
Today’s teens are distracted just as much as they think their parents are. A study by the University of Michigan found that teens emulate what they think their parents do in the car. If they think their parents eat, talk or text on a cell phone, engage in passengers, teens are more likely to replicate the behavior. The CDC states the number one influential factor in teen driving is parents.
The Risk for Teen Drivers by State
An article by Richard Bernardo on WalletHub.com says vehicle accidents is the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 and 19. In the same article is a chart ranking states by 16 key factors in teen driving. Ranking number one out of the 50 states in teen drivers is New York. Their number 1 ranking also shows they rank in the first 5 across the board in driving laws, safety conditions, and economic rank.
In the same chart, dead last in the 50 state ranking in driving laws is South Dakota. They comparatively rank in the lower 37 and 47 in safety conditions and economic conditions. Relatively speaking, it appears there is a close connection between state laws, safety conditions and economic factors and teen driving.
What can Parents do?
- Create a written agreement and go over it with your teen and make it clear the safety laws and expectations.
- There is an app for that! Download the Lifesaver-app to monitor your teens driving and get notifications when they arrive at their destination.
- Parents that respect driving laws and follow the laws in the car are more likely to have a teen emulate them.
Know the eight danger zones:
Teens with passengers equal danger
Nighttime driving increases accident rate so have a driving curfew.
Seatbelts must always be worn.
No distracted activities in the car, such as, eating, drinking, or cell phones.
Avoid drowsy driving. Know your teen’s schedule and make sure they are rested before getting behind the wheel.
Reckless driving is irresponsible and dangerous. No speeding, racing, maintain the distance between cars and drive for the road and weather conditions.
Impaired driving is an absolute no! No drinking or drugs. Always refer to your Parent/Teen Driving Agreement.
States are Starting to Step up GDL systems
According to the CDC, graduated licensing (GDL) systems reduce crashes and deaths. All states have a 3 stage graduated licensing system covering the learner’s permit, provisional license, and unrestricted license. Each state has their own laws and limits to these three stages.
Today drivers have more distractions than ever. Teens who are new to driving are at the most risk of distraction and three times more of a risk of an accident than experienced drivers. Parents must be proactive in teaching teens and enforcing the laws and rules of driving. Eliminate and reduce unnecessary distractions in the car of teens. Emulate safe driving and teens are more likely to follow your lead. Educated, responsible and proactive parents of teen drivers are doing their very best to keep their teens safe when behind the wheel.