Parents Play Big Role in Improving Teen Driving

National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) is October 16-22, 2011.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Statistics show that teens are most likely to have a crash during the first six months after getting their license, which is primarily due to their inexperience. Research shows that parents play an important role in increasing their teen’s driving skills as they have the have the greatest influence over their teen’s behavior. In fact, leading experts believe parents play a key role in preventing teen car crashes and deaths.

A study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows that teens whose parents set rules, monitor their driving, and are supportive are half as likely to crash and twice as likely to use seat belts as teens with less involved parents. Parents can help by talking with their teens about safe driving practices. Spending as much time driving with your teen in many different driving situations can significantly impact your teen’s future driving practices.

The Texas Graduated Driver’s License Law provides parents with the controls to help keep their teen drivers safe. However, many parents are not aware of the provisions of this law. The law is divided into two phases. During phase one, the teen driver must always be accompanied by a person at least 21 years of age. During phase two, teens cannot operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is younger than 21 unless the additional passengers are also family members. Driving is prohibited between midnight and 5 a.m. unless the teen is driving to attend work or a school-related activity, or responding to an emergency situation. Cell phone use is also prohibited during this second phase. Making sure your teen follows the Graduated Driver’s License Law can help get a teen safely through the most critical time when driver inexperience can lead to crashes.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service reminds parents to follow these tips to keep teens driving safely:

  • Practice driving with your teen as often as possible.
  • Discuss your rules of the road, and create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.
  • Model good driving behavior for your teen by always using seat belts and never using a cell phone while driving.
  • Share your rules with other parents and teens.

Parents can take advantage of the National Teen Driver Safety Week to talk to their teens about staying safe on the road.

For more information on National Teen Driver Safety Week, go to TeenDriverSource at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s website: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/get_behind_national_teen_driver_safety_week_ntdsw_/teen and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/ParentsAreTheKey/parents/index.html.

Categories: Parenting, Safety