Learning to drive is an exciting time for teenagers and their parents. It opens up many options for a young person, but it also carries risks. Young people between ages 15 and 24 have the highest rate of auto-related deaths. The rate is the highest for young men.
Parents and teens should be aware of problem areas and take steps to avoid hazards.
Make a Commitment to Safety
Teens also need to commit to being safe and responsible drivers in order improve the odds in their favor.
Drivers and passengers should use automobile safety features at all times. These include: seat belts, shoulder straps, and headrests. Only drive cars that have air bags, padded dashes, safety glass, collapsible steering columns, and anti-lock brakes.
Auto accidents are also a leading cause of death in infants and children. Infants and young children should be properly buckled into a child safety seat of the right size.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distractions are a problem for all drivers. Do not use cell phones for talking, texting, and email when you are driving.
Other tips include:
Driving with friends can lead to accidents.
Teenage-related driving deaths occur more often in certain conditions.
Other safety tips for teens
Parents should talk with their teens about "household driving rules."
Parents can do the following to help prevent teens from drinking and driving:
Some children continue to mix driving and drinking. In many states the parent must sign for a teenager under 18 to get a driver's license. At any time before the 18th birthday a parent can refuse responsibility and the state will take the license.
Driving and teenagers; Teens and safe driving; Automobile safety - teenage drivers
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Ginsburg KR. National young-driver survey: teen perspective and experience with factors that affect driving safety. Pediatrics. 2008;121(5): e1391-403.
Martinez R. Teen crash victims: who are these people and why are they here? Ann Emerg Med. 2005; 45(2): 155-156.
Gonzales MM. Student drivers: a study of fatal motor vehicle crashes involving 16-year-old drivers. Ann Emerg Med. 2005; 45(2): 140-146.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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