October 16, 2023 | Washington, DC
This National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 15-21, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds parents to talk to their teenagers about the importance of safe driving. Teens lack experience behind the wheel, and you can make a difference in shaping them to be responsible, safe drivers. Encourage your child to make the right choices and keep themselves and their friends safe.
And as a parent, be a good role model. Demonstrate the responsible driving behaviors you want your teenager to have and set aside time for your teen to practice driving with you.
Here are some conversation starters:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Remind them that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, and it is illegal—and deadly—to drink and drive.
- Teach your teen about the risks of distracted driving. Distractions significantly reduce a teen’s ability to react to other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, children, hazards or inclement weather.
- Remind them to put the phone down when behind the wheel. Texting, calls and social media aren’t worth the risk. Taking their eyes off the road could be deadly.
- Passengers can be distracting and increase the risk of a crash. Consider limiting the number of friends allowed in your child’s car or banning passengers altogether.
- Remind them of the importance of slowing down and buckling up. Speeding was a factor in 32% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers in 2021, and 51% of teen drivers killed in crashes were unbuckled. Remind them to follow speed limits and to always wear their seat belt.
- Speak up. If they’re a passenger and the driver is speeding, distracted or otherwise being unsafe, encourage them to say something. Empower them to speak up when something’s not right.
Speak to your teen about safety risks early and do so often. And remember, helping your teen driver stay safe isn’t a one-time conversation, it’s an ongoing effort.
For more, please visit NHTSA’s teen driving page.