Motor vehicle crashes kill more teenagers than all other major causes of death combined. Parents are the most important influence on teen drivers and may be the key in getting young drivers to treat driving as a serious responsibility. Parents who set rules and monitor their teen’s driving behavior in a supportive way can cut crash risk in half. [www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/why_parents_matter/support_parents]
Three out of 4 serious teen driver crashes are due to a critical driving error. The most common errors are:
Texting and driving is killing more teens than drinking and driving. Talk with teen drivers about what activities can be distractions and how to eliminate those distractions. 66 percent of teens say their parents influence their cell phone use behind the wheel, more than the law does. Take an active approach by talking about being in the right mindset for driving and remaining focused on driving. Before you had the keys over, teach teens critical driving skills; like how to scan around you and think ahead.
Parents should practice driving with their teen and log as many miles as possible together. During practice sessions, have your teen get ready before the key is turned by doing the following:
Make sure you practice the driving habits you want your teen to have. Set an example; don’t talk, text, eat, or engage in other activities while you are driving. Don’t speed. Demonstrate how to be alert and focused. Show your teen how you live by the Code for the Road.
Talk with your teen to set rules for the road:
GIVE THEM THE CONFIDENCE TO SPEAK UP!
Young people are the least likely to say something when riding with a driver who is talking on a cell phone or texting. Empower your teen to Speak Up! against distracted driving—by asking the driver to put the phone down or by asking passengers to help the driver focus on the road. Teach teens to never ride with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. North Dakota teens are encouraged to take the pledge to Speak Up! against distracted driving at http://www.ndcodefortheroad.org/speak-up/. Check out this video from Sydney Helgeson, Miss State Capital’s Outstanding Teen 2016, about taking the pledge to Speak Up! against distracted driving: https://youtu.be/vN-JIH9ySvE?list=PLUlze72CussGUEtr9W5_b3qIASuvLVQb7.
CONSEQUENCES AND REWARDS
Driving a vehicle is a responsibility. If rules aren’t followed, then parents need to follow through with reasonable punishment–even if it means taking away the keys. Consider installing a monitoring device in your teen’s vehicle as some insurance companies offer these devices along with a good driver discount. When teens show responsible behavior and follow the rules their future is protected.
Support for parents of teen drivers can be found at: