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Mold your teen into a safe and capable driver

Mold your teen into a safe and capable driver


After spending years defending your youngsters from all types of risks on the street and off, you now face the prospect of handing them the keys to the family automotive. It’s time for them to discover ways to drive. Are you ready? We may help you mould your teen into a protected and capable driver.

NHTSA’s Teen Driving website incorporates info on States’ driver licensing requirements for teenagers in addition to concepts and assets that will help you—the mother and father—lay down the ground guidelines together with your aspiring driver before you hand over the automotive keys. Here you will see in-depth info on a number of the commonest security issues novice teen drivers ought to avoid. Educate your self concerning the consequences of unlawful alcohol use by minors, the advantages of seat belt use, the rising epidemic of distracted driving, and far more.


Your teen sees a driver’s license as a step toward freedom, however you won’t make sure your teen is prepared for the street. One thing is for certain: teenagers aren’t able to have the same degree of driving duty as adults. Teen drivers have a better price of deadly crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of expertise, and lack of experience. They velocity, they make mistakes, they usually get distracted simply – particularly if their pals are in the automotive. To assist your teen keep protected behind the wheel, all 50 States and the District of Columbia have a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that limits high-risk driving conditions for brand spanking new drivers. This strategy can scale back your teen’s crash danger by as a lot as 50 %.

What Can You Do?

  • Study your State’s GDL laws. Notice that the laws and restrictions can differ from State to State. Familiarizing your self with the restrictions placed on your teen’s license can better help you in implementing those legal guidelines. You could have the opportunity to determine some essential ground rules in your teen driver. Prohibit night time driving and passengers, prohibit driving whereas utilizing the telephone or different electronic units, and require seat belt use always.
  • Speak to your teen concerning the risks of drug and alcohol use. Remind them that it is unlawful to drink underneath the age of 21, and it is unlawful—and lethal—to drink and drive. If a teen is underneath 21, his or her blood alcohol focus (BAC) should all the time be at .00, not slightly below .08, which is the authorized restrict for drivers over age 21.
  • Be a superb position mannequin. Keep in mind that your baby seems to be to you as a driver, so apply protected driving your self. Set aside time to take your teen on follow driving periods. It may be a good way to spend time together and to allow your teen to enhance some primary driving expertise. Your teen’s studying starts at residence.
  • Don’t rely solely on a driver’s schooling class to show your teen to drive. Keep in mind that driver’s schooling ought to be used as just a part of a GDL system.

Backside Line:You might have extra influence in your teen than chances are you’ll assume. Be a great instance and become involved in their driving habits from the start, and stay concerned all through their teen years.


Teens’ inexperience behind the wheel makes them more prone to distraction behind the wheel. One in three teens who textual content say they have completed so while driving. Is your teen one in every of them? Research has discovered that dialing a telephone quantity while driving will increase your teen’s danger of crashing by six occasions, and texting whereas driving increases the danger by 23 occasions. Speaking or texting on the telephone takes your teen’s focus off the task of driving, and considerably reduces their means to react to a roadway hazard, incident, or inclement weather.

Distracted driving can take on many types beyond texting and talking on the cellphone. Many teenagers might attempt to use their driving time to eat their morning breakfast or drink coffee, to apply makeup, or to vary the radio station. Many teenagers are distracted by the addition of passengers in the car. Any distraction is a harmful distraction. Taking eyes off the street even for five seconds might value a life.

What Can You Do?

  • Speak to your teen concerning the rules and duties concerned in driving. Share some stories and statistics associated to teen drivers and distracted driving. Remind your teen typically that driving is a talent that requires the driving force’s full consideration. Texts and telephone calls can wait till arriving at his or her vacation spot.
  • Familiarize yourself together with your State’s graduated driver licensing regulation, and implement its tips on your teen. Examine to see what your State’s laws are on distracted driving; many States have novice driver provisions of their distracted driving legal guidelines. Create your personal rules if crucial. Proscribing the variety of passengers your teen can have, or the hours your teen can drive, is a very effective method to reduce distraction on your teen driver. Speak concerning the penalties of distracted driving and make your self and your teen conscious of your State’s penalties for speaking or texting on a telephone while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. In case your teen breaks a distraction rule you’ve set, contemplate suspending your teen’s driving privileges, additional limiting the hours throughout which they will drive, or limiting the locations where they will drive. Mother and father might additionally think about limiting a teen’s entry to their cellular phone—a punishment that in as we speak’s world could possibly be seen by teens as a critical consequence.
  • Set the instance by retaining your eyes on the street and your palms on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your personal driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most frequently study from watching their mother and father.

Bottom Line: Eyes on the street, palms on the wheel. On a regular basis.


In a research analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers have been two-and-a-half occasions extra more likely to interact in one or more probably dangerous behaviors when driving with one teenage peer, in comparison with when driving alone. Based on the identical research analyzed by NHTSA, the probability of teenage drivers partaking in one or more dangerous behaviors when touring with multiple passengers increased to 3 occasions in comparison with when driving alone. The truth is, research exhibits that the danger of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the variety of youngsters in the automotive.

What Can You Do?

  • Familiarize your self together with your State’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) regulation, and implement its tips on your teen.
  • Set your personal further rules and penalties. Set up the results you will enforce if your teen doesn’t obey the State GDL restrictions. In case your State doesn’t have a passenger restriction, establish your personal rule limiting the variety of passengers in the automotive and enforce it.

Backside Line:Most State GDL legal guidelines prohibit the number of passengers that can experience in a automotive driven by a teen. Passengers distract an inexperienced teen driver who ought to be targeted only on the street, growing the probability of a crash. In case your State does not have passenger restrictions (FL, IA, MS, SD, and ND), set up rules together with your teen about who can experience with them and how many individuals they will have of their automotive at one time. Ensure your teen follows the principles you set always.


Rushing is a crucial security problem for teen drivers. In 2016, it was a think about 32 % of the deadly crashes that concerned passenger car teen drivers. A research by the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation (GHSA) discovered that from 2000-2011, teenagers have been involved in 19,447 speeding-related crashes. There’s also proof from naturalistic driving research that teenagers’ rushing conduct will increase over time, probably as they achieve confidence (Klauer et al., 2011; Simons-Morton et al., 2013). Teenagers ought to especially concentrate on their velocity throughout inclement climate, when they could need to scale back their velocity, or with other street circumstances, like visitors stops or winding roads.

What Can You Do?

  • Get Involved: Teens who’re monitored intently tend to speed less. Take the lead to do more to deal with rushing conduct by your teen driver and become involved within the learning-to-drive process.
  • Be an excellent position model: Never velocity. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your personal driving behaviors. Youngsters study from watching their mother and father.
  • Hold up on shopping for your teen a new automotive: In line with a research by GHSA, when a teen first has a driver’s license, he or she is more more likely to velocity in their own car versus driving the household sedan. If attainable, mother and father should choose bigger, newer automobiles fairly than high-performance automobiles.

Backside Line: Obey all visitors signs.


Remind your teen that underage consuming is against the law, and driving underneath the influence of any impairing substance – including illicit, over-the-counter, and prescribed drugs – might have deadly penalties. Consuming alcohol underneath the age of 21 is prohibited in each State—inside or outdoors of a car. Drunk-driving legal guidelines are all the time strictly enforced, and lots of States have zero-tolerance laws, which means that there might be no trace of alcohol or unlawful medicine in your system at any time. Let your teen know: Regulation enforcement officers will be capable of check for these substances.

Present your teen the grim stats. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Management and Prevention, teens are extra possible than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related crash. In 2016, virtually one out of 5 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been consuming. Regardless that the minimal authorized consuming age in every State is 21, knowledge exhibits 16 % of 15- to 18-year-old drivers involved in deadly crashes in 2016 had been consuming. Medicine aside from alcohol – illicit in addition to prescribed and over-the-counter – can affect your teen’s driving, so ensure you and your teen speak about driving and drug use, too.

If fortunate sufficient to survive a crash as an impaired driver, your teenager will face the results of breaking the regulation. Those embrace a attainable trip to jail, the lack of his or her driver’s license, and dozens of other expenses together with lawyer charges, courtroom prices, different fines, and insurance hikes. Your teen will even stand to lose educational eligibility, school acceptance, and scholarship awards.

Share this reality sheet on alcohol and driving together with your teenagers and ensure they know the results of breaking your State laws on drunk and drugged driving.

What Can You Do:

  • Tell your teen that underage consuming, in addition to illicit drug use and over-the-counter and prescription drug misuse, is against the law and holds critical penalties. Together, read about some teenagers who’ve been affected by alcohol or medicine and notably those that have lost their lives to impaired driving. Teenagers can typically relate better to other teenagers.
  • Never present alcohol to teens. Do your half to stop your teen from accessing alcohol. Unfortunately, some mother and father assume it’s OK to offer alcohol for teens. Don’t do it—it’s unlawful. Mother and father who supply alcohol to any teen—or assist any minor possess or eat alcohol—face jail time, loss of a driver’s license, and critical fines. Keep in mind: For these underneath 21, the BAC limit isn’t .08—it’s zero.
  • Inform your teen that driving while impaired by medicine is prohibited, too. Using medicine can affect their means to drive a car safely. This consists of illegal medicine, many medicine prescribed by a physician for them or for another person, and a few over-the-counter medicine. Train your youngsters about zero-tolerance laws, which make it unlawful to drive with any measurable quantity of specified medicine in the body.
  • Remind your teen that it is by no means protected to journey in a automotive with somebody who has been consuming alcohol or utilizing medicine. If there’s even a suspicion of alcohol or drug use, your teen should decline the experience immediately. Let your teen know that they will name you or one other trusted grownup for a protected experience house in the event that they need one.
  • Make the results clear. Remind your teenagers that they face grownup consequences for driving after utilizing alcohol or medicine. Be certain that your teenagers know that in the event that they violate underage consuming legal guidelines, they face a visit to jail, the lack of their driver licenses, and dozens of unanticipated bills together with lawyer fees, courtroom costs, and different fines. Remind them of the added embarrassment and humiliation in getting arrested. Drunk- and drugged-driving convictions may even compromise educational eligibility, school acceptance, scholarship awards, and extra.

Bottom Line: Speak to your teen about alcohol and drug use and driving. Establish a no-alcohol-or-drugs rule, set penalties, and enforce them. Remind your teen to never experience with someone who has been consuming or using medicine. Ensure that he or she understands that you will all the time decide them up no matter time or location.


Tragically, seat belt use is lowest among teen drivers. In reality, nearly all of youngsters involved in fatal crashes are unbuckled. In 2016, a total of 818 teen (15- to 18-year-old) drivers and 569 passengers died in passenger automobiles driven by teen drivers, and 58 % of these passengers have been NOT sporting their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. As teens start driving and steadily achieve independence, they don’t all the time make the smartest selections relating to their safety. They could assume they’re invincible, that they don’t need seat belts. They could have a false notion that they’ve the fitting to decide on whether or to not buckle up.

  • Let them know: Not solely is buckling up the regulation, it’s also one of many best and handiest actions in decreasing the probabilities of dying and damage in a crash. Help your teen understand why seat belts are so essential (most significantly, because seat belts forestall ejection from a car), and that they have to be worn in the front seat and the back seat, every journey, every time. Speak to your teen concerning the seat belt legal guidelines in your State. Inform your teen that it’s dangerous and reckless to journey in a automotive unbuckled. Make them aware of the results of not buckling up: tickets, loss of driving privileges, damage, or even demise in the event of a crash.
  • Set the example: The most effective issues you are able to do as a mum or dad and position mannequin is to all the time wear your seat belt in the automotive. Youngsters who grow up watching their mother and father buckle up are more likely to buckle up once they turn into drivers. And, before you ever pull out of the driveway, ensure all passengers are buckled to further impress upon your teen the significance of buckling up.
  • Remind Them: This isn’t a one-time conversation, it’s an ongoing effort. Ask your teen typically about sporting a seat belt, and give simple reminders sometimes. One thing so simple as a sticky observe within the automotive is usually a helpful visual reminder to your teen driver. Your teen should buckle up every trip, as the driving force, as a passenger, within the front seat, and within the again.

Bottom Line: It solely takes a number of seconds to buckle up, nevertheless it might make the difference of a lifetime.


Lately, teens are busier than ever: learning, extracurricular actions, part-time jobs, and spending time with pals are among the long listing of things they do to fill their time. Nevertheless, with all of these actions, teenagers are likely to compromise on one thing essential—sleep. This can be a dangerous behavior that can result in drowsy driving. Actually, in 2016, drowsy driving claimed 803 lives, and some studies even recommend drowsiness might have been involved in additional than 10-20 % of fatal or damage crashes. In 2016, teen drivers (aged 15-18) accounted for nearly one out of each 10 deadly drowsy driving crashes.

Drowsy driving consists of more than simply falling asleep. It impacts a driver’s alertness, attention, reaction time, judgement, and decision-making capabilities. Those that are at greater danger for a crash brought on by drowsy driving embrace drivers 17-23 years previous, and people who sleep less than six hours an evening, drive on rural roads, or who drive between midnight and 6 a.m. Be certain that your teen gets a superb night time’s sleep, and strictly monitor and restrict their nighttime driving as your State’s GDL regulation stipulates. Your teen’s associates, passengers, and other drivers will thank them for driving safely.

What Can You Do?

To fight drowsy driving, mother and father should make it possible for their teenagers get adequate sleep at night time by establishing and implementing a daily bedtime, as well as limiting using digital units earlier than bed. It has been well-documented that teenagers on common get far too little sleep regularly, and this could jeopardize their potential to securely and successfully drive a motorcar. Too little sleep also can impression their performance within the classroom and through extracurricular activities.

Bottom Line: Guarantee your youngster has the sleep they want to allow them to drive as safely as attainable.