National Teen Driver Safety Week: How to Navigate Teen Driving Safely

National Teen Driver Safety Week runs October 21 – 27, 2018, a national safety campaign that promotes safe driving habits for teen drivers. Bubalo Law PLC supports this safety awareness campaign because of the inherent dangers involved with inexperienced teen drivers. We offer some suggestions on how to keep your teen driver safe as you travel down this new path.

Teen Driving Statistics

National statistics back up parents’ anguish when teen drivers get behind the wheel of a car:

  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year olds
  • Teenage drivers have higher crash rates than other drivers due to inexperience behind the wheel, distracted driving, and speeding
  • Teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to die in alcohol-related crashes
  • Alcohol is involved in nearly one in five fatal crashes involving teen drivers
  • Nearly half of all teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a seatbelt
  • Speeding is a factor in almost one-third of fatal crashes involving teen drivers
  • Death rates from motor vehicle crashes with teen drivers increase with additional passengers in their vehicles
  • Most fatal car crashes involving teen drivers occur on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday

Rules for the Road

Although driving is a rite of passage, it is not a right. Driving is a privilege that carries with it great responsibilities. Before your teen driver earns the keys to the car, set firm rules for what is expected and outline clear consequences when those rules are broken.

  • No drunk or drugged driving. This includes prescription drugs that may adversely affect driving skills.
  • Never ride with a driver who is under the influence.
  • Always wear a seatbelt whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
  • No cell phone use while driving. That call, text, or social media post can wait.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Always drive the speed limit making sure to adjust speed depending on traffic, road, and weather conditions.
  • Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Make alternate plans for transportation if alertness behind the wheel is in question.
  • Restrict the number of teenage passengers in the car. Studies show the risk of fatal crashes with teen drivers increases in direct proportion to the number of teenage passengers in a vehicle.

What Can Parents Do To Keep Your Teen Driver Safe on the Road?

Even though you think they may not be listening or paying attention, parents still remain the biggest influence in their teens’ lives.

  • Model good driving habits. Regardless of what you say, your teen will adopt similar driving habits by watching how you drive, and what you do behind the wheel.
  • Always wear your seatbelt and insist all passengers wear theirs.
  • Do not drive distracted. Practice what you preach and stay off the phone, don’t eat, or engage in other activities while you’re driving.
  • Consider placing an app on your teen driver’s phone that prevents phones notifications from sounding while the vehicle is moving.
  • Don’t buy a high-performance vehicle for your first-time driver. Inexperience coupled with the speed these vehicles encourage is a recipe for disaster.
  • Restrict the number of passengers and the time of day your teen driver can drive.
  • Practice driving with your teen driver, or consider third-party driving lessons.
  • Sit down and discuss safe driving with your teen driver. Don’t make it a one-time discussion, but an on-going dialogue about safe driving habits, expectations, and consequences.

Bubalo Law PLC highly recommends a safety-driving course for all inexperienced drivers, in addition to the training that may be provided by responsible parents, driver’s education classes, and other professional driver’s training skills.  Follow the link for a safety course near you, which is sponsored by Tire Rack and the BMW Club of America called the “Street Survival Course”:

Finally, we wish you and your teen driver the best as you navigate this journey together.