Tips and Tools to Guide and Monitor Your Teen Driver

Follow these important steps to help minimize risks on the road and keep your teen driver safe.
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Have a Conversation with Your Teen

Tips and Tools to Guide and Monitor Your Teen Driver

For teens, driving represents independence and the freedom to explore the world on their own terms. For parents of teen drivers, having a child behind the wheel can be a source of tremendous anxiety.

The fears that parents have aren't groundless. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash. Follow these important steps to help minimize these risks and keep your teen driver safe.

There are some topics that are so important, only a frank, face-to-face conversation will suffice, and driver safety is one of them. Sit down with your teen and an open and honest conversation about this issue with your teen. Here are some talking points to consider:

Seat Belt Use: According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts reduce crash-related deaths and injuries by about 50 percent. NHTSA research also shows that roughly 55 percent of teens who perished in crashes in 2012 weren't wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Use this data to convey the importance of always buckling up when behind the wheel, and requiring passengers to do so as well.

Distracted Driving: Distracted driving occurs when drivers are engaged in activities that take their attention away from the road, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, changing radio station, and talking with passengers. According to the NHTSA, 10 percent of all drivers ages 15 to 19 years old who perished in car crashes were distracted in the moments leading up to and at the time of the accident. Make it clear to your teen that driving privileges will be suspended if distracted driving becomes an issue.

Impaired Driving: Combining alcohol and driving is always a bad idea, yet it's a path teens travel down time and again with disastrous effects. Remind your teen that just one drink can be dangerous behind the wheel. CDC statistics indicate that one in 10 high school students drinks and drives, and drivers ages 16 to 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident when they have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above. Underage drinking is illegal, and "zero-tolerance laws" make it a criminal DUI offense for driver under the age of 21 to have even a small amount of alcohol in his or her system.