National Teen Driver Safety Week

by Gwen Newell

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 17th – 23rd and it’s important that during this week, and every week, parents have productive conversations with their teens about the rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Teen drivers are 3x as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash, so discussing rules that address the greatest dangers for teen drivers such as impaired driving (alcohol and drugs), inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted driving (texting), speeding and number of passengers are all critical. Engaging in safe driving conversations year-round will also help to enforce the rules and set constant reminders.

Also, starting now through October 24th, in partnership with the North Carolina Athletic Association, teen drivers can log on to to take the pledge to drive distraction-free and register to win a $1,000 scholarship!

Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 – 18 years old) in the United States ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
  • In 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 719 deaths were the teen driver.
  • 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.

Remember the Rules of the Road:

  • Don’t drive impaired. Set a good example by not drinking and driving or consuming marijuana or other impairing substances. Remind your teen that drinking before the legal age of 21 is against the law and that driving under the influence of any impairing substance – illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs – could have deadly consequences.
  • Buckle up. Leading by example and wearing your seat belt every time you are in the car means your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter what. This includes in taxis and when using ride-sharing services.
  • Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. Remind your teen about the dangers of distracted driving brought on by habits such as texting, browsing music playlists, or using social media or other mobile apps while driving. Require your young driver to put their phones away when they are behind the wheel and turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature on their phone.
  • Obey All Posted Speed Limits. Speeding is an important issue for all drivers, especially teen drivers who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their vehicles. Obey the speed limit and require your teen to do the same.
  • Limit Passengers. With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash increases. Review your state’s GDL law before your teen takes the road, as it may restrict the number of passengers in the vehicle and it may further dictate who can ride in a car being driven by a teen driver.

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