Did you know that there is a National Teen Driver Safety Week? I didn’t realize it until I was reading through my AAP news this month and it was mentioned. In 2007, congress designated the third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness of safe teen driving. Car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death in teens aged 15-19. That’s tragic. The first few months after getting their license are the most dangerous for teenage drivers. It makes sense. It’s when teens are the most inexperienced. Additionally, the late teen years happen to be when kids feel invincible, are most likely to engage in risky behaviors, and stay out late (so are driving at night). So it’s definitely an issue worth spending time and energy focusing on.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign focuses on 5 main risks to teen drivers.
“5 to Drive” Risks:
- Alcohol use
- Not Wearing Seat Belts
- Distracted driving
- Extra Passengers
In researching resources available to help parents who have teenage drivers, I came across the Checkpoints TM Program*. It has all sorts of great information and resources for parents. And added Bonus (for the frugally minded like me), it’s totally free. One of the coolest aspects of the site is your ability to create a personalized parent-teen driving agreement, which I intend to do when my kids are old enough to be driving. The idea is to set the rules before your teen is on the road.
My parents did something similar, it just wasn’t formally written down. As a teen driver, the expectations placed on me where that I never got a ticket or in an accident. The consequence for getting a ticket or in an accident was that I would have to pay for my own car insurance (which I couldn’t afford as a poor teenager earning $7/hr.). I also had a curfew which limited late night driving. While this program is a bit more formal than what I had growing up, I really like the concept. Kids do well when expectations and consequences are clearly outlined. The site is: youngdriverparenting.org.
Good luck and help your teenagers drive safe. After all, I’m on the road with them!
*Developed by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and the CDC