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What To Tell Your Teen Drivers

Car accidents are a serious problem for teen drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents were the top cause of death for people 15 to 20 years old in the U.S. in 2013. Teen drivers lack the experience to make the fast and accurate decisions needed to avoid danger. Parents have a large role to play in helping their teen drivers stay safe. The NHTSA is currently celebrating National Teen Driver Safety Week. In recognition of this, the NHTSA is asking parents of teen drivers to join their campaign, '5 to Drive.'

The campaign focuses on five issues central to teen safety on the roads. Parents are asked to tell their teens five things to focus on to be safe. Don't drink alcohol and drive. Don't speed. Don't use your cell phone while driving. Don't drive with extra passengers. Wear your seat belt. If teens followed these guidelines, many injuries and fatalities could be avoided. Inexperience can only become over time. Risky driving behaviors can be eliminated at the outset with the right emphasis by parents and guardians. 

A survey of parents of young drivers shows that few have serious discussions about the things that are vital to safe driving. Only one in four parents have had this talk. It's possible that parents don't realize the importance of their input in shaping their children's behavior. Research shows that parents are the primary driver of teen driving behavior. As much as it can feel like teens are not listening, the truth is that they are listening to, and watching, their parents. That makes it vital to discuss safe driving and to embody safe driving practices when behind the wheel.

Source: NHTSA Press Release, "NHTSA encourages parents of teens to join the '5 to Drive' campaign," by Kathryn Henry, 19 October 2015 

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