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Teen Driver Safety Week: Tips to Share With Your Teen

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24, 2015. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In 2013, 2,614 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured.

While inexperience is often a contributing factor, alcohol, failing to wear seat belts, texting, and extra passengers can also lead to a serious crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), six percent of the teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were distracted at the time of the accident. Even though they are not yet able to purchase alcohol legally, teen drivers are also at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes compared to drivers in all other age groups.

Despite the risks associated with teen drivers, a recent survey revealed that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their children about the key components of safe driving. Even if you have talked with your teen, it also never hurts to continually drive home the message.

With this in mind, we would like to share the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for parents and teens:

No Drinking and Driving. Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age.

Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast.

Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road. It’s equally important to model safe driving habits for your teen—you shouldn’t text and drive either.

Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.

No More Than One Passenger at Any Time. With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash goes up.