Next month my daughter signs up for driver’s education. Although she isn’t my first child to learn how to drive, she is the only one enthusiastic about it. My oldest son just never really enjoyed driving and would avoid it at all costs.
It’s likely that this time around as the parent of a teen driver, there will be greater worries. But I’m not the only one concerned about the safety of teens behind the wheel.
The AAA is sponsoring “National Teen Driver Safety Week,” which runs from October 14 through October 20. The focus is on creating stronger graduated driver’s licensing programs and more involvement from parents.
In addition to spotlighting safety this week, new research has been released concerning teen passengers. The more teen passengers inside the vehicle, the riskier behaviors become for 16 and 17-year-old drivers.
This is a genuine concern for me and something I have discussed with my daughter. I found out that a couple of times she was in a vehicle with a newer teen driver who had more passengers than she was supposed to have.
The driver was at the point where she could have a family member and one other teen passenger. That was supposed to be my daughter. But as it turned out, there were two other teens in the car.
I also found out this other teen was driving faster than she should have been and had the music cranked up loud. To me this confirms the risk-taking that can be involved when other teens are present.
Needless to say, it’s a discussion I will continue to have with my daughter. Yes, even when she gets frustrated and tells me, “I know.”
AAA’s research found that of those 16 and 17 year olds who were involved in fatal car crashes the risk of speeding, driving late at night (between 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and alcohol impairment was elevated. But even more alarming is that these risky behaviors increased with more passengers in the car.
Enforcing family rules is one step. I also put together a driving contract that I had my oldest son sign and will now have my daughter read and sign.
I will also be looking into graduated driver licensing programs, as these are found to significantly reduce the chance of accidents, injuries and deaths. Any step I can take to protect my child and others will be taken.
Do your part and talk to your teen about driving safely.
Photo by anitapatterson in morgueFile