Teen Drivers


National Teen Driver Safety Week Is Here: Oct. 16-22

Written By: Jerry Reynolds | Oct 13, 2022 1:41:43 PM

Take it from me:  This is a serious issue, the numbers bear out that as a parent, you should constantly speak to your teen driver about his or her driving habits.  I have lost a child and I know the pain that I hope none of you ever know.  Losing a child is an exclusive club that nobody wants to be a member of.
- Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro


This Sunday marks the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety Week which runs from October 16-22, 2022. Now in its 15th year, National Teen Driver Safety Week is a reminder for parents and caregivers to have conversations with their teenage driver about staying safe behind the wheel. 

According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute says "this grassroots movement has brought millions of teens, parents, schools, law enforcement, advocates, and policymakers from across the country together to tackle a leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. "

The Latest Stats

Here are some of the latest available stats from the NHTSA:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States.
  • In 2020, there were 2,276 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 748 deaths were the teen driver.
  • Nationally, in 2020, 19% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system.
  • In 2020, 52% of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in crashes were unbuckled. When the teen driver involved in the fatal crash was unbuckled, nine out of 10 of the passengers who died were also unbuckled. 
  • In 2020, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 7% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. 
  •  In 2020, almost one-third (31%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and males were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than females. 

What You Can Do 

Safety experts say parents can be the biggest influencers on teens' choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks and discuss the important rules they need to follow to stay safe on the road. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol use, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers in a vehicle.

Here are some things parents can do to make a difference:

  • Parent-Teen Driving Contract:  
    • You can use the contract that I recommend or create one of your own, but be sure to outline when your teen can and can’t drive or get in the car with another teen driver.  This should be done as a family and taken seriously.  Sit down; go over the contract line by line, without distractions.  Everyone should have his or her cell phones off for this meeting.  We have a great contract, written by an Austin, TX-area judge that listens to our show, on our website.  Click here for the teen driver contract →.

  • Use Technology: 
    • Several automakers offer in-car monitoring to make sure that your teen isn’t driving too fast or out of your agreed-upon area. There are a lot of aftermarket systems out there too, that will text you if your child speeds, or leaves boundaries that you set.  If your child knows you are watching, and there are consequences, he or she is more likely to adhere to the rules of the contract.

  • A New Set of Wheels:  
    • If you’re considering buying your teen a new car, be sure to check the car’s crash-test scores before signing on the dotted line. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a small overlap front crash test that simulates a 40-mph collision with a tree or light pole.

  • Set a Good Example:  
    • As a parent, you know that your actions often speak louder than your words. So make sure your cell phone is put away whenever you’re behind the wheel, allowing you to set a good example for your teen driver.

  • Distracted Driving:
    • If your child is going to have an accident, statistics tell us that distracted driving is the #1 cause of accidents.  Limit the number of teenagers your child can have in the car.  This is especially an issue for male teen drivers, they are twice as likely to have a wreck with just one passenger, and as more people get in the car, the odds of an accident skyrocket.

  • Don’t Be Naïve:  
    • We all think our children are little angels.  Among male teen drivers from 16-19 years of age, recent stats show that of teen deaths in cars, 35% were speeding, and 25% were legally drunk.  55% of male and female passengers admitted to not wearing their seat belts when they were riding in another teen’s car.

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