The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published some staggering statistics on teenage drivers. Here are just a few of them:
1. In 2010, seven teenagers were killed every single day as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident.
2. Compared to drivers who are 20 years and older, teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
3. Car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers.
Some teenage drivers are at greater risk than others. Males are two times more likely to be killed in a car crash than females. Teens who are in their first month of driving are more likely to die in a car accident. Finally, teens who are driving with other teenage passengers in the car are more likely to be involved in a fatal wreck.
If you have a teenage son or daughter, these sobering statistics will keep you awake at night. To help reduce the likelihood that your teenager will be involved in a car accident, teach and continually nag them about the following:
1. Wear your seatbelt. If your teen is involved in a crash, the use of this vital piece of safety equipment can mean the difference between life and death.
2. Put your phone down. Texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving, using a phone to look up directions are all dangerous. Teach your teen to pull over and stop if they need to use their phone.
3. Do not drink and drive. Do not wait to talk to your kids about alcohol use. The average age for a boy to first try alcohol is 11 and for teen girls it is 13. Start the discussion early so that they have heard it for years before they begin driving.
4. Practice safe driving techniques. Do not exceed the speed limit. Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Do not eat and drive. Do not put on make-up while driving.
In addition to nagging your kids about safe driving, remember to practice them yourself. You may think your teenage no longer pays any attention to what you do, but you are wrong. If you are applying make-up, texting while driving, speeding, engaging in aggressive driving, etc., your teenager will likely think you are a hypocrite and blow-off your warnings. So, be a good role model.