Because car crashes are the number one cause of death and injury for teens, and one in five teen drivers will be in a crash during their first year of driving, AAA urges parents to be good driving role models and help teens prepare for the most dangerous years on the road. This coincides with National Teen Driver Safety Week, beginning this week, October 15-21.
This week is about reminding young drivers and parents of young drivers just how important safe driving habits are for them and for everyone else on the road, too.
Thousands of teens, ages 16-19, are killed or injured in vehicle crashes. Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. In 2015, 1,972 young teen drivers (15 to 18 years old) were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths nationwide, of which 1,730 were teens. An estimated 99,000 teen drivers were taken to hospital emergency rooms with injuries.
A AAA survey of driving instructors revealed that parents today are worse at preparing their teens to drive than they were 10 years ago. Driving instructors reported that parents often set a bad example through their own behaviors. The survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers aged 35-55 commonly report dangerous behaviors when behind the wheel. Research also shows that teens often times mimic their driving after their parents or family members.
- 77 percent of drivers aged 35-55 reported talking on a cell phone while driving compared to 68 percent of teen drivers.
- A similar proportion of teens and drivers aged 35-55 reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (45 percent and 46 percent, respectively).
“Parental involvement is critical to a novice teen driver’s success. Teen drivers often engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel due to lack of experience and reasoning skills,” said Pat Moody, director of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “By investing their time and attention, parents can help their teen driver learn the crucial skills needed to navigate the complexity of the New England driving environment.”
Parents demonstrating that they’re following speed laws, driving distraction-free and being focused on the task of driving will go a long way toward teens doing the same when they’re behind the wheel, Moody said.
Past research shows that teens with parents who impose stricter driving limits reported fewer crashes and traffic violations. AAA recommends parents stay actively involved in coaching their teens through the learning-to-drive process by:
- Start talking now. Talk about the learning-to-drive process..
- Taking the time to practice driving with their teens in varying conditions.
- Evaluate your teen’s readiness. Talk with your teen about personal responsibility, ability to follow rules and any other concerns before beginning the learning-to-drive process.
- Adopting and enforcing a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for the road.
- Get informed. Graduated driver licensing (GDL), driver education, license restrictions and supervised practice driving are all part of today’s licensing process. Each state sets parameters throughout a multi-stage licensing process for young drivers, such as times of day they can drive and how many passengers they can carry.
- Be a good role model. Make changes in your driving to prevent any poor driving habits from being passed on. Show you take driving seriously.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 19 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Today, AAA members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip-planning services, and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available by visiting www.AAA.com.