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Teenagers and driving risk

Most teenagers look forward to the day they get their driver’s license, and even some parents experience excitement for the day. However, this age group has the highest rate of accidents, and many of them are fatal. There are numerous reasons why teens are high risk drivers, and there are things parents can do to reduce this risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the likelihood of teenage drivers being in fatal crashes is three times higher than for older drivers. The biggest reasons for motor vehicle accidents among teens are:

  • Inexperience
  • Nighttime driving
  • Presence of other teenagers in the car
  • Lack of seat belt use
  • Distractions

As inexperience is a main cause of accidents, parents should help their teens practice. Ride along and guide them through risky conditions such as fog, rain, rush hour and nighttime. Make sure they know where vehicle features are and how to use them. Talk about important safety practices such as using a seat belt every time, not drinking and putting the phone away while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is a good idea to set rules around driving as well as consequences for breaking them. For example, restrict the number of teenage passengers, limit nighttime driving and limit where they can drive. Write the rules and consequences into an agreement and have the parents and teens sign it.

The influence of parents is also powerful, so they should always set a good example while driving. This means not using the cellphone or practicing other distracting behaviors such as changing the radio, eating or fussing with the navigation system.

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