We have every reason to worry about our teen drivers. Traffic crashes are the number-one killer of teenagers. One in four crash fatalities in the United States involves a 16- to 24-year-old. The first six months after getting a license are the most dangerous time for any driver, and the risk stays high until the young driver becomes 25. However, as with most challenging situations, there are ways we can help protect them.
According to National Teen Driver Survey, high school students are driving under highly dangerous conditions on a routine basis. Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania and State Farm Insurance surveyed more than 5,600 high school students, representing the 10.6 million 9th-, 10th- and 11th-grade students in U.S. public high schools. The survey results are available on a Web site called Keeping Young Drivers Safe. This Web site from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia/State Farm alliance is aimed at parents and educators. It is packed with practical information on developing a plan that will enable new drivers to develop the skills and habits they need to stay safe. There is information on working with a new driver to set goals and rules; develop a timeline for parent-guided driving lessons; and develop a parent/teen driving agreement.
Here are a few highlights from the report:
- Teens say they routinely drive while fatigued
- 48 percent report talking on cell phones while driving
- 21 percent said they have driven without wearing seatbelts
- 41 percent reported having seen a peer driving under the influence
- 50 percent reported driving at least 10 miles over the speed limit at least sometimes
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