Teenagers may love the freedom they have when driving a vehicle, but other motor vehicle operators should be wary. Teenage drivers present the highest risk on the road, and there are numerous factors to contribute to their high percentage of accidents.
All states have programs in place that help teens gain experience behind the wheel, but there are other things that can improve driving skills. In fact, parents play a big role in helping their teenage drivers stay safe on the road.
Graduated driver licensing programs
According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are the main cause of fatalities for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 20. Inexperience is the main reason for crashes, although other risk factors include
- Lack of seat belt use
- Presence of other teens in the vehicle
- Drinking or drug use
- Distracted driving
One strategy all states have in place is the graduated driver licensing program, and studies show that GDL reduces accidents, especially fatal ones. As part of the program, there are limits and restrictions for teenagers. Some examples include restricting the number of passengers and limiting driving to daytime only.
According to the National Parent Teacher Association, parents also set an example when it comes to driving. Distracted driving, especially texting, is a big factor in accidents, and studies indicate that parents typically engage in distracted behaviors when behind the wheel. Parents need to be conscious of how their driving habits rub off onto their kids.
Parents can also help by spending more time in the passenger seat while their teen drives. This allows the teenager to gain more experience when there is an adult in the car, and the parents can guide the driver through more challenging driving situations.