Chevroletís Teen Driver Safety technology provides an industry-first driving report card and is standard on the all-new 2021 Trailblazer. Chevrolet safety engineer, Tricia Morrow, is pictured above with her daughter. Photo Credit: Chevrolet.
The 13th annual National Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off on October 18. Itís a week-long event dedicated to teen driver safety in the hopes of preventing teen injuries and deaths on the road. Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens 15-18 years old in the U.S., so this is an awareness campaign that is an important one to share. Just consider these government statistics:
In 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 719 deaths were the teen driver ó a 5% decrease from 2017. - Source: NHTSA
In 2018, there were an estimated 88,000 teen drivers injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and an estimated 256,000 people injured in crashes involving a teen driver, accounting for almost 10% of all those injured that year. - Source: NHTSA
In 2018, more than one-quarter (28%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and males were more likely to be involved in fatal speeding-related crashes than females. Source: NHTSA
In 2018, almost half (45%) of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died were unbuckled.
In 2018, among teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. - Source: NHTSA
From seeking change on the local level with a seat belt check or safe driving pledge wall to meeting with elected officials, teens and others are using National Teen Driver Safety Week as a platform to create positive change.
According to the Childrenís Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute:
Many people, including teens, think that the best way to reach young adults is to ďscare them straight.Ē This rarely works. It can be overwhelming and cause teens to shut down. Research shows that teens understand they are vulnerable and are well aware of many risks. So, focusing on positive actions that teens can take to be safe and to keep their friends safe, can be powerful messages for teens. In fact, the best way to change behavior over time is messaging that promotes positive action. - Childrenís Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute
Parents play an important role in helping ensure their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road. Here are some things you can do to make a difference:
Parent-Teen Driving Contract:
You can use the contract that I recommend or create one of your own, but be sure to outline when your teen can and canít drive or get in the car with another teen driver. This should be done as a family and taken seriously. Sit down; go over the contract line by line, without distractions. Everyone should have his or her cell phones off for this meeting. We have a great contract, written by an Austin, TX-area judge that listens to our show on our website. Click here for the link.
Several automakers offer in-car monitoring to make sure that your teen isnít driving too fast or out of your agreed-upon area. We are fans of Chevroletís Teen Driver system introduced in 2015. It offers an industry-first report card for parents to monitor their teenís driving behavior. It also offers a Buckle to Drive feature. There are a lot of aftermarket systems out there too, that will text you if your child speeds, or leaves boundaries that you set. If your child knows you are watching, and there are consequences, he or she is more likely to adhere to the rules of the contract.
Check Crash Test Scores:
If youíre considering buying your teen a new car, be sure to check the carís crash-test scores before signing on the dotted line. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a small overlap front crash test that simulates a 40-mph collision with a tree or light pole.
Set a Good Example:
As a parent, you know that your actions often speak louder than your words. So make sure your cell phone is put away whenever youíre behind the wheel, allowing you to set a good example for your teen driver.
If your child is going to have an accident, statistics tell us that distracted driving is the #1 cause of accidents. Limit the number of teenagers your child can have in the car. This is especially an issue for male teen drivers, they are twice as likely to have a wreck with just one passenger, and as more people get in the car, the odds of an accident skyrocket.
Donít Be NaÔve:
We all think our children are little angels. Among male teen drivers from 16-19 years of age, recent stats show that of teen deaths in cars, 35% were speeding, and 25% were legally drunk. 55% of male and female passengers admitted to not wearing their seat belts when they were riding in another teenís car.
Take it from me: This is a serious issue, the numbers bear out that as a parent, you should constantly speak to your teen driver about his or her driving habits. I have lost a child and I know the pain that I hope none of you ever know. Losing a child is an exclusive club that nobody wants to be a member of.
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