If you are like most parents – you push your children hard to do better in school, better on the field of play, and be better people in every way. And if you’re like most parents you probably push a bit too hard and might want to consider letting your child breathe a bit.
That is unless we’re talking about their driving. If that’s the case – chances are you aren’t worried enough – because your child’s life is in danger.
Did you know that if a person is going to suffer an untimely death – the two most dangerous years of their life is their 16th and 17th. And the cause – driving.
Nichole Morris – a researcher at the University of Minnesota puts it simply: “Cars have gotten safer, roads have gotten safer, but teen drivers have not.”
In 2013, just under 1 million teenagers reported having car accidents (and many teenage accidents go unreported), resulting in over 373,000 injuries and 2,937 deaths. According to the CDC – an average of six teenagers die each day in car accidents in America.
Yup – six each and every day.
And some researchers estimate that one in four teenagers will be in a car accident within their first six months driving.
What are the biggest risk factors for car accidents with these drivers?
There are three really…
- Driving with passengers in the car – particularly teenage passengers. And not surprisingly, boys driving other boys are far more likely to have a car accident than when boys are driving girls.
- Cell phones. Researchers installed cameras in the cars of teenage drivers to monitor driving behaviors. Know what they found? Even when kids knew they were being watched, they still used their cell phones to text, place calls, and check Instagram and Facebook at least once on every single trip they made – even if traveling only a very short distance.
- Alcohol and drugs. Almost one third of all teenage drivers killed in a car accident were intoxicated at the time of the accident.
What can a parent do to protect their young drivers?
- Be involved while your child is learning to drive. Give them instructions, take them out driving under varying road conditions, and challenge them to really learn how to drive.
- Do not let them transport other teenagers at any time for the first six months driving and only siblings during the next six months. This rule is Connecticut law.
- Remind them that they may not use cell phones (even if hands-free) or other mobile electronic devices while driving. This includes any hand-held computers or other device with a video display. It is against the law.
- If you can afford it – make sure their first car is well equipped with safety features.
- For at least the first six months – do not let them drive after 9:00PM or before 5:00AM in the morning. The law states that they may not drive between 11:00PM and 5:00AM until they are 18 years of age.
- Be a great example to your children. Don’t text and drive and don’t ever drive when intoxicated.