Safe Teen Driving

Get the latest tips, links and more on how you can help your teen be safe behind the wheel.

MIT Study on Distracted Driving

Check out this MIT Study on Distracted Driving.

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Safe Teen Driving - Facts

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. In 2008, nine teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.

Safe Teen Driving Information

Who's at Risk

  • Males: In 2006, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.
  • Teens driving with teen passengers: The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
  • Newly licensed teens: Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.

Why Teens are at Risk

  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
  • Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash and 26% had been drinking.
  • Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2005, 10% of high school students reported they rarely or never wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
  • Male high school students (12.5%) were more likely than female students (7.8%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.
  • African-American students (12%) and Hispanic students (13%) were more likely than white students (10.1%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.

Parents Tips

  • Extend your teen's supervised driving period. Help your teen develop the skills he or she needs by providing as many supervised practice driving hours as possible. Include at least 30 to 50 hours of practice over at least six months. Make sure to practice on a variety of road conditions and at different times of day.
  • Set the rules of the road. Practice driving will empower your teen. But your rules will provide much needed limits to keep him or her safe. Support the rules that most states have for new teen drivers by including the following:
    1. Make sure your teen always wears a seat belt.
    2. Limit your teen's nighttime driving.
    3. Restrict the number of teen passengers allowed in the car.
  • Enforce the rules with a Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Discuss your rules of the road with your teen. Talk about why they are important. 

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