By now, most of us have heard the stories or maybe even witnessed teenage driving accidents, but did you know that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all types of injury, disease, or violence, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)? In fact, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Each year more than 5,000 teens (ages 16-20) are killed in passenger vehicle crashes which means one teen dies in a traffic crash an average of every hour on weekends and once every two hours during the week.
While these statistics are scary, don’t use them to keep your teen in the house forever! Instead, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Believe it or not, parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks and set some ground rules. After all, driving is a privilege, not a right.
The following rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers:
- Always Buckle Up! Everyone in the car must have their seat belt fastened before the car starts to move.
- No Alcohol or Drugs! Make your teen aware of the consequences of being caught with alcohol or drugs in their vehicle and remind them that they are responsible for what is in the car, even if it is not theirs.
- No Texting or Talking on the Phone! All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cellular phone while operating a vehicle even if it’s hands-free.
- Number of Passengers: Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have shown that one passenger doubles the risk of a crash among teen drivers, two passengers triples the risk, and three or more passengers increase the risk by more than six, so your teen should only have one passenger at a time and if it’s within the first six months of him or her getting a driver’s license, your teen driver cannot transport any non-family member passengers under the age of 18. https://www.drivinglaws.org/resources/massachusetts-teen-driving.html
- Curfews: Junior license holders (Ages 16 1/2 years-18 years old) are prohibited from driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by his or her parent or guardian. Violation of this restriction is considered driving without a license. In addition to the criminal penalties, the driver’s license will be suspended 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and one year for a third offense. Massachusetts Driver’s Manual
- No Speeding! Always pay attention and drive defensively.
- No Drowsy Driving! Do not drive if you are sleepy. According to the AAA Foundation, driving sleepy slows reaction time, impairs judgement and is similar to driving drunk.
Driving is an important responsibility and the way your teen learns to drive today is how they will drive tomorrow. Here at A-Affordable Insurance, we have developed an auto insurance plan specifically tailored for teenage drivers that provides discounts for limited use of vehicles, anti-theft devices, a good student record, and a good driving record. We can even help you install a GPS device in your teenager’s car that will alert you if they speed and allows you to place geographic and time boundaries on their driving privileges.
For a free teen driver insurance quote, Contact Us today!
For more information about National Teen driver Safety Week and to learn safe driving tips to shar with your teens, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving .
For a common-sense approach to teaching your teen safe driving skills, check out the Massachusetts Parent’s Supervised Driving Program.