School is back in session and for some teenagers, that means driver’s ed and getting their license for the first time. There are several things parents can do to help make sure a new driver’s experience is a safe one. As a parent remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and with that privilege comes responsibility and consequences. Promote safe driving by placing restrictions on potentially high risk situations, and gradually allowing more freedom as experience levels increase.
Teenage drivers have the highest crash rate of any age group, with 16 year old drives being most likely to be in an accident. Unsurprisingly, the most difficult time for young drivers is in the first months after obtaining their license.
Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out a number of other factors that lead to teen accidents:
- Speeding leads to roughly 85% of fatal accidents for 16 year olds, and 78% for those that are 17-19.
- Not wearing seat belts accounts for approximately 75% of fatalities for those 15-20 years old.
- 37% of fatal accidents where the driver was 16 can be attributed to having 3 or more passengers in the car. Fatal crashes with 3 or more passengers is 34% for those 17-19.
- For 16 year olds, the fatal crash rate is twice as high at night as in the daytime.
In many states, there are driving restrictions for a short time after teens obtain their first license while they gain more experience behind the wheel. This method of graduated licensing often includes stipulations such as minimum age of passengers, a limited number of passengers without an adult in the vehicle, restrictions on night driving, and limitations regarding interstates or other high speed roadways.
Parents may also elect to place their own restrictions on teen driving privileges. Some of these restrictions may include:
- Requirement that the phone is turned off, or placed in the glove compartment while driving
- Avoiding streets with dangerous intersections
- Removal of vehicle sound systems
- Limitations on driving privileges if grades begin to suffer or other poor behavior occurs
- Restrictions on which vehicles are allowed to be driven
- Zero tolerance for traffic violations
The penalties set by parents should be relevant to the seriousness of the violation. Some acts may simply result in limited vehicle use, such as only driving to and from school, while others may require revoking driving privileges until behavior is resolved.
In addition to preparing your teen to be a safe and cautious driver, teach them to identify when another teen may be unfit to drive. Have a plan in place for what they will do if the teen driver, whether themselves or their friend, should not be behind the wheel of a car.
Help your teen avoid fatal or costly accidents by promoting safe driving from the beginning, and be sure they understand the responsibilities and consequences they will face each time they get behind the wheel.
If you have a teen driver, contact Dickinson Insurance today to request a free review of your auto policy.