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Parenting is no easy task, and parenting teenagers comes with its own unique set of challenges. During National Teen Driver Safety Week October 18-24, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Newton Police Department to help empower parents to discuss the importance of driving safety with their young drivers. The week is a perfect time to begin — and continue — this conversation, and to remind parents not to hand over the car keys until their teen knows the rules of the road.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old in the United States. In 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 719 deaths were the teen driver — a 5% decrease from 2017. In fact, in 2018, there were an estimated 88,000 teen drivers injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and an estimated 256,000 people injured in crashes involving a teen driver, accounting for almost 10% of all those injured that year.
Parents play an important role in helping ensure their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road. NHTSA gives parents tips on how to talk about safe driving behaviors with their teens, and to address the most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors for teen drivers: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and driving with passengers.
NHTSA’s website, www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving, and outlines the basic rules parents can use to help reduce the risks for teen drivers:
Parents can help protect their teen drivers by talking with them about these risks. Self-reported surveys show that teens whose parents set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.
Explaining the rules and any other restrictions outlined in Iowa’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) law and the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices can help encourage teens to exhibit safe driving behaviors.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn safe driving tips to share with your teens, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.