In observance of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, and with prom and graduation season upon us, the National Safety Council is urging parents to stay involved with their teen drivers and is emphasizing the need for building driving experience.
A National Safety Council poll found that teen drivers are largely aware of the risks associated with driving while distracted, with more than half reporting that distraction by technology almost contributed to a crash or put themselves and others at risk. But only 31 percent of adults and 28 percent of teens identified inexperience as the biggest risk.
“Car crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Certain distractions – including smartphones, infotainment systems built right into the car and even peer passengers – are risks teen drivers need to avoid. But it all boils down to inexperience. One of the best things parents can do is to stay involved and help their teen build the experience needed to become a safer driver.”
The survey also found that 60 percent of teens describe driving as somewhat or very stressful. By staying involved and helping teens become more experienced and confident drivers, parents can help alleviate some of that stress.
The council offers some key tips for parents:
- Other teen passengers are among the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s risk of a fatal crash by 44 percent, while two passengers double the risk and three or more quadruple the risk.
- Model good behaviors. Ninety-five percent of parents who drive distracted do so in front of their teens.
- Keep household rules in place even after school lets out. One-third of parents surveyed said they allow risky behaviors – such as driving late at night – during summer break.
- Practice with teens, even after licensure, to ensure they are retaining good driving habits.
- Set household cellphone rules. More than half of teens feel pressure to respond to their families while driving.
The National Safety Council encourages parents with new teen drivers to use resources from DriveitHOME.org to help them become effective driving coaches. DriveitHOME.org includes tips, driving lessons and a New Driver Deal that parents and teens can use to outline household driving rules. Parents also can see all the risks their new teen drivers face, including drowsy driving. Finally, DriveitHOME’s new monitoring technology page can help guide parents on the best options for extending their involvement, even when they can’t be in the passenger seat.