Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for US teens. Parents can make a big difference in keeping teen drivers safe.
This year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 21-27. The purpose of this week is to help prevent crashes involving teen drivers, increase awareness of safe driving practices, and educate parents and teens about the dangers of driving.
Know The Facts About Teen Driving
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for US teens.
More than 2,400 teens (ages 16-19) lost their lives in car crashes in 2016. That’s six teens a day.
Driver inexperience is a main cause of fatal crashes for teen drivers.
Fortunately, motor vehicle crashes are preventable and parents can make a big difference in keeping teen drivers safe. Experience is the key to safer driving. The more teens practice, the better.
Father and son talking next to car with keys in hand
Parents can make a difference. Discuss your rules of the road with your teen and create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that puts these rules in writing to set clear expectations and limits
Here are some effective ways to get involved in your teen’s driving:
Ride along with your teen for at least 30-50 hours. Watch closely and make suggestions on how they can improve. Practice at different times of the day, in different kinds of weather, and in heavy and light traffic. Your guidance—and helpful, calm advice—will stay with your teen long after he or she takes the car out alone.
Make sure that you and your teen driver are aware of the leading causes of teen crashes. Learn the 8 danger zones[467 KB] and get tips on how to reduce these main risks:
Driving with teen passengers
Not using seat belts
Crash risk is highest during the first year drivers have their license. Use a parent-teen driving agreement[465 KB] to put rules in place that will help your teen stay safe on the road. Don’t forget to update the agreement as your teen’s experience increases.
Do you know your state’s teen driving law for passenger limits? Find out here. If your state doesn’t have a rule, limit your teen to zero or one young passenger for at least the first six months they have a license.
For all ages, fatal crashes are more likely to occur at night; but the risk is higher for teens. Make sure your teen practices nighttime driving and is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. for at least the first six months of licensed driving. If your teen holds an intermediate license, use this map to learn more about nighttime driving restrictions in your state.
CDC’s Parents Are the Key campaign helps inform parents about the key role they can—and should—play in protecting their teen drivers. “Parents Are the Key” campaign materials can be used to help parents learn about the most dangerous driving situations for their young driver and how to avoid them.
Remember to be a good role model for your teen, always buckle up. Require your teen to wear a seat belt on every trip. It is the simplest way to prevent car crash injuries and deaths. This week and always, help keep teen drivers safe on the road!