The Auto Club offers 10 things parents can do to help keep their teen driver safe.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 19-year-olds. In fact, one of five teen drivers will be in a crash during the first year of driving. The Auto Club is working to improve teen driver safety by raising awareness of the problem.
The Auto Club urges parents of teen drivers to learn and follow California’s graduated driver license law and help improve their teen’s safety by following AAA’s list of 10 Things Parents Can Do to Keep Their Teen Driver Safe.
1. Know and understand your teen
Not all teens are mature and responsible enough to drive at age 16.
2. Be a positive and responsible role model
AAA research shows that teen drivers with collisions and citations often have parents with similar driving records. Familiarize yourself and your teen driver with all of the state driving laws and rules of the road, with the California Driver’s Handbook.
3. Locate a quality driving school
Driving schools with significant amounts of interaction and highly trained instructors are best. Parents should select a driving school that encourages parental involvement and progress reports. The Auto Club offers a Driving School for teens with 20 locations in Southern California. Teens completing the Driving School may be eligible for a car insurance discount with the Auto Club’s affiliate auto insurer.
4. Create a parent-teen driving agreement
Agreeing to rules, conditions, restrictions and consequences of teens’ driving behavior written down in advance establishes driving as a privilege and not a right. The Auto Club’s four-page parent-teen agreement is an example.
5. Make a smart vehicle and insurance choice for teens
As the family member most likely to crash, a teen should drive the safest vehicle the family owns. Make sure your teen is properly insured and ask if your teen is eligible for the new driver and/or good student auto insurance discounts that the Auto Club offers.
6. Practice might not make perfect but it can make for a better teen driver
Supervised practice with parents obtaining a license provides teens with opportunities to reinforce proper driving skills and receive feedback from those who care the most about their safety. AAA’s Driver-Zed CD-ROM can provide guidance for teens and parents on the most effective driving practice.
7. Set a time each week to discuss safe driving
Parental communication is critical in the prevention of teen-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. Teens who might be tempted to race can find a safe and fun outlet through the NHRA Street Legal Program oval tracks.
8. Keep teen drivers free of passengers and off the road at night
AAA research shows that a teen driver’s chances of crashing increase two-fold with additional passengers. Research also shows teen crash rates spike at night and that most crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
9. Encourage teens to get enough sleep
Teens need about nine hours of sleep every night. Drowsy driving can be as risky as drunk driving and impacts perception, judgment and reflexes.
10. Eliminate distractions
Cell phones and text messaging are hazardous distractions while driving, and are illegal for teen drivers to use.
More general information about teen driver safety can be found in your local AAA branch or call us at (714) 885-2300.