Happy New Year to everyone, but especially to teenagers who will return to school with a license and a car. This is the time that many high school juniors and seniors have been waiting for because a lot of events go on during the first half of this new year – spring break, prom, and graduation. For that reason, January not only marks the beginning of a new year, but it is also marked as Teen Driving Awareness Month.
Driving gives teenagers the freedom they have been seeking since they entered the 9th grade. It gives them the opportunity to attend events and plan activities outside of school. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of planning these fun events is an unforseen motor vehicle accident.
Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2012, the number of reported vehicle accidents increased between 3:00pm – 5:59pm. The times coincide with the peak hours of traffic and the time that most schools release their students. For inexperienced drivers, like teenagers, this can be a dangerous time to drive especially since the number of fatalities for males was almost three times as much as that of female fatalities.
So how can you help your teenager drive safely?
The agreement is a promise between the teen driver and parents to always drive safely. The promise highlights obeying the rules on the road, staying focused on driving, respecting the laws about drugs and alcohol, and being a responsible driver.
The agreement also gives parents the room to restrict their teenager’s driving. The restrictions will be lifted once the teen driver has proved to be a responsible driver and has gained experienced driving on his or her own.
Lastly, the agreement gives parents and teens the opportunity to negotiate the penalties for violating the driving agreement.
- Discuss with your teen driver the eight danger zones
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified eight danger zones for the leading cause of teen crashes. You can help your teenager by explaining to them the consequences of neglecting these eight danger zones. The zones are:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
- Consider enrolling your teenager in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) System
Every state has their own requirements and procedure for providing teenage drivers with the skills needed to drive safely on the road. The minimum age to begin the program differs from state to state – with the youngest drivers admitted to the system at 14. The GDL systems have three stages and each stage allows the driver more privileges. The stages are:
- Stage 1: learner’s permit
- Stage 2: Intermediate license
- Stage 3: unrestricted license
Have other tips on keeping teens safe from distracted driving? Let us know!