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Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens?
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Safe Kids Worldwide surveyed 1,000 teenagers ages 13 to 19 to explore teen safety in cars and find out why motor vehicle crashes are the number 1 killer of teens. Here are some of the statistics they found:
- More than 50% of teens surveyed said they have seen a parent talking on the phone while driving.
- In half of fatal crashes, the teen was not wearing a seat belt; yet wearing a seat belt is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay safe as a driver or passenger. When used, seat belts reduce the risk of death for front seat passengers by 45%.
- 1 in 4 teens said they don’t use a seat belt every single time when riding with a teen driver, and 84% think that other teens don’t use a seat belt for every ride. The top reason that these teens gave for not buckling up is that they forgot or it wasn’t a habit.
- Half of teens have felt unsafe with a teen driver, and 31% have felt unsafe with a parent driving.
- The risk for crashes is higher for newly licensed teen drivers, teens driving with other teens, and male teens, compared to other teenagers.
- Mile for mile, teens ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a crash compared to older drivers.
- Comprehensive graduated driver licensing programs have been linked to a 38% reduction in fatal crashes, and a 40% reduction in injury crashes.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know what teens are up to when driving or riding with a teenage driver. Here are some tips and strategies to help your teenager become a safer driver and passenger:
- Buckle up on every ride. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt usage; so instilling this habit at a young age is vital. Teens whose parents don’t use seat belts for every ride are less likely to buckle up themselves.
- Talk to children and teens about ways to speak up if a driver of any age is not driving safely. Try giving them examples of situations in which they’re riding with a driver who isn’t safe—such as texting or speeding—and ask them what they would do. Then, tell them what some safe options would be, such as asking the driver to slow down or ask to be dropped off at a shopping center and call a parent to be picked up.
- Teach your kids to ride with experienced drivers and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.
- Be a role model in all your driving habits. Eliminate distractions such as cell phones, follow all speed limits, and actively look out for hazards on the road.
Want to learn more?
Check out our Countdown2drive program, which helps you put together a passenger agreement and guidelines for teens that are specially tailored to your family.