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By formalizing family agreements and being a good role model, parents can improve the odds against the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.
Washington, D.C. – Every day, six teens die in a motor vehicle crash. These tragedies are often the result of inexperienced teen drivers taking risks like not buckling up, texting, driving with teen passengers, speeding, driving under the influence or driving in the dark. New research from Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors Foundation reveals parents can play an important role in reducing this risky behavior by talking with their teens, formalizing – and enforcing – a family agreement about driving rules and modeling good behavior.
The report shows that when parents and teens discuss rules for driving, and come to an agreement, whether verbal or written, teens are less likely to engage in risky behavior while driving. For instance, teens who have an established family rule against drinking and driving were 10 times less likely to report doing that illegal behavior than those who didn’t have an established rule. Teens with explicit family rules were more likely to wear their seat belt every time and were less likely to drive distracted or speed.
The research also showed parents who demonstrated good behavior impacted the safe driving habits of their teen drivers. For example, teens who saw a parent driving after drinking were three times more likely to report driving after drinking than teens whose parents modeled safe behavior. And past research revealed that teens were more likely to buckle up on every ride if their parents made buckling up a consistent habit from a young age.
Particularly disturbing are the statistics on the risks for males. Males make up 75 percent of teen deaths in car crashes, and the risk of a crash by teen drivers is almost three times higher if their passengers are male.
“Our sons and daughters are dying in car crashes because they are inexperienced drivers who are taking unnecessary risks, like texting, driving under the influence, speeding and not wearing a seat belt,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Given that 3 out of every 4 deaths is a son, I encourage all parents, particularly parents of young men to make it a priority to put an agreement in place and make sure you are following the rules, too.”
Teens also reported that their parents had the most influence on their driving and that the time teens spent practicing driving with their parents was the most helpful. Although legal requirements vary by state, it is recommended that teens get at least 50 hours of experience behind the wheel, under a variety of conditions, before setting out on their own. Having more experience behind the wheel helps new drivers manage driving in the dark and driving with other teen passengers in the car, situations that can increase the likelihood of crashes for young drivers.
“Technology advances in vehicles today, such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, provide more help to the driver,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of global vehicle safety at General Motors. “But being a new driver can be quite challenging, so it is especially important for teens to stay focused while driving and always buckle up. Additionally, our newly introduced Teen Driver feature now provides parents a teaching tool for their young drivers which helps to develop and reinforce safe driving habits.”
Smart Strategies for Parents of Teen Drivers:
- Make a formal agreement with your teen driver and enforce it.
- Be a role model for safe driving by following the rules yourself.
- Ensure your new teen driver gets at least 50 hours of experience under a variety of driving conditions.
Download the interactive infographic to review common risks and tips.
Download a sample family agreement.
The Safe Kids Buckle Up program is a national initiative established 19 years ago by Safe Kids and GM and the GM Foundation to keep children, teens and families safe in and around cars. GM’s long term commitment to educating families has helped the child safety program evolve into one of the most comprehensive in the nation, and covers children from birth to the time they become drivers.
Partnership focuses on local teen driving programs and educational resources for teens and their parents
Washington, D.C. – In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 17-23), Safe Kids Worldwide and Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) announced today a new partnership dedicated to addressing the number one killer of teens—car crashes, particularly those caused by reckless and distracted driving.
Lifesaving Change Possible with Stronger State Teen GDL Licensing Laws
Award-winning video shows the importance of teen driver safety
Washington, D.C.– In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 21-27, 2018), Safe Kids Worldwide and Chevrolet today released an award-winning video featuring teen driver safety advocate, Kaylyn Barbour. Now paralyzed after a tragic car crash, Kaylyn is speaking out about her experience and sending a powerful message to teens about the risks of unsafe driving behaviors.
Do you have a new driver in the family? It marks a time of new independence and new worries for parents.
There is sound reason for concern: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of teens, ahead of all other types of injury, violence or disease. In fact, every day, six teens are killed in a car crash.
My sons are grown already, safely through the teen years, yet I still remember the scary days when they were teen drivers. If you’re anything like me, your inexperienced teen drivers, or teen passengers who ride with an inexperienced driver, will keep you awake at night until they are safely home.
It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it’s still hard to believe that it has anything to do with me.
I still remember putting my babies in their first car seats. The long drive home from the hospital in the backseat scared that someone was going to hit us. Since my career is all about keeping kids safe in and around cars, it was a big part of my kids’ life, too, which was not always easy.
Washington, D.C. – More teens die in motor vehicle crashes than from any other cause of death, about 2,500 per year. Fatalities are split almost equally between teen drivers (56 percent) and passengers (44 percent). In half of the fatal crashes, the teen was not wearing a seat belt. To develop strategies to drive down the number of teens killed in cars (which claims fully 25 percent of all preventable injuries among children), Safe Kids Worldwide conducted a survey among teen passengers and drivers.
Sixteen years old. The age that came with the one little piece of plastic I’d been waiting for since my first toy car. I took the class, passed the test, waited in the line, and after what seemed like forever, the woman sitting in the small cubicle at the DMV handed it to me: my driver’s license.
Safe Kids and program sponsor General Motors are joining together for an opportunity for high school students who reside in an area with a local Safe Kids coalition. The Take it From a Teen video challenge is a chance for teens to share their wisdom on safe driving and passenger practices from the first time their parents turned their car seat forward facing. Plus, teens could win $100 or even $1,000!
The teen applicant will create a 60-second video that answers one of the following questions: