Teen Driving Safety Week: Tips for parents on discussing safe driving

It is National Teen Driver Safety Week and troopers want to remind teens and their parents of ways they can stay safe on the road.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 4:58 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -It is National Teen Driver Safety Week and troopers want to remind teens and their parents of ways they can stay safe on the road.

Getting behind the wheel for the first time is exciting and once you have your license it’s tempting to gather up your friends and head out for a drive but it’s important to talk to your teen about driving responsibly.

There are several dangers that come with teen driving but according to the US Department of Transportation, some of the biggest dangers are alcohol, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and inconsistent or no seat belt use.

Seat belts

“What we’re finding is at the end of the year, it still maintains about 64 to 67% of all fatalities are occupants that are unbuckled,” said Sergeant Michael McClure With Troop D Missouri State Highway Patrol. “That’s higher with teens to a certain degree, 74% is the number. So the importance of buckling up. It’s a three-second gift that they can receive to be used and cashed in at any time.”

On Saturday two teens died in a car crash and troopers say they were not wearing their seat belts.

Driving under the influence

According to the CDC, young drivers between the ages of 16-20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking. The number of teens who drink and drive has decreased by 54% since 1991 but still 1 in 10 admit to getting behind the wheel under the influence. Troopers are reminding parents to talk with their teen about the dangers of drinking and driving.

  • Remind your teen that underage drinking is illegal and underage drinking and driving is deadly.
  • Talk about how riding in a car with an impaired driver at the wheel is also dangerous. Make sure your teen knows that they should never ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol.
  • You also need to set a good example. If you have been drinking model responsible behavior in front of your teen and find a safe way home.

“This is where the conversations need to be had between those that are responsible for them and themselves and make an agreement that I’m not going to drink and drive,” said McClure. “ if I find myself in an unguarded moment at a party, I’ve had too much to drink, which is going to happen. Let’s be real about that. But make that phone call to mom or dad or the guardian or friend that is your lifeline, and say, hey, look, I’ve had too much to drink. Can you come get me?”

Distracted driving

When we think about distracted driving we often think of texting or scrolling social media while behind the wheel but in reality, there are all kinds of things that can be distracting. It could be looking at a map to find where you’re going or eating or changing songs on the radio. All of these things can cause anyone to take their eyes on the road. Parents, make sure you are teaching your kids to stay focused on driving when behind the wheel.

  • Phone use of any kind is dangerous while driving and can lead to crashes, fines, and tickets.
  • When it comes to having a snack behind the wheel, teach your kids that its best to just wait and eat it when you are parked somewhere safe.
  • Suggest making a playlist before hitting the road to limit messing with the radio to change songs.

“It’s a manageable distraction with experience possibly it’s still a distraction,” said McClure. “The world is full of them, but what we have to do is mitigate those and get the work done of setting up the infotainment center and attaching the Bluetooth for the hands-free device before we ever move the vehicle from its starting point.”

Your behavior sets the example when your teen is learning to drive. When you use safe-driving practices and follow traffic laws when behind the wheel—your teen will too.For more of these tips and ways to talk with your teen about distracted driving CLICK HERE.

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