The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is focusing on a multi-tier approach to preventing teen car accidents:
1. Increasing seat belt use:
Teens buckle up far less than adults do. Seat belt use among teens and young adults (16 to 24 years old) was at 80 percent in 2008 – the lowest of any age group. In fact, more than half (56%) of young people 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were unbuckled in 2009.
2. Implementing graduated driver licensing:
Young, inexperienced drivers, usually 16- to 17-year-olds, are in fatal crashes more than most age groups. Studies show that immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to these deadly crashes by young drivers. But GDL laws address these factors by reducing high-risk exposure for teen drivers. Michigan now has Graduated Driving Laws.
3. Reducing teens’ access to alcohol:
Teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related car accident than the overall population, despite the fact they cannot legally purchase or publicly possess alcohol in any state. High-visibility enforcement of underage purchase and possession laws can reduce underage drinking and decrease alcohol-related crashes.
4. Parental responsibility:
It’s not just good parenting, it’s a matter of life and death. When your teen begins driving, it’s best to set rules and then clearly outline the consequences of breaking the rules. Here are 7 sample rules you could start with:
- Alcohol: Absolutely no booze.
- Seat belts: Always buckle your safety belt.
- Cell phone: No talking or texting while driving.
- Curfew: Have the car in the driveway by 10 p.m. or earlier.
- Passengers: No more than one at all times, and no more than one who is under 21.
- Graduated Drivers License: Follow Michigan’s GDL teen driving law.
- Parental rules: Set your house rules and consequences for breaking them.
5. No distracted driving:
Drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident if they’re texting while driving. Teen drivers are at a higher risk of texting while driving crashes than drivers of other ages. Inform your teens about the dangers of distracted driving, and make them pledge not to do so.
‘National Teen Driving Safety Week Infographic created by Michigan Auto Law. Visit our blog post for more information.