Parents need to set rules and enforce laws that prohibit risky behavior and realize that they are the ones who must give their teenager the time to practice driving skills to become a mature, safe, and courteous driver.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/]:
"Many parents don’t realize it, but a major threat to their teen’s safety is driving or riding in a car with a teen driver. The fact is, almost 2,400 teens aged 13–19 lost their lives in car crashes in 2019. That’s seven teens a day too many. The main cause? Driver inexperience. One of the most important safety features for your teen driver is YOU.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute notes:
"Car accident prevention begins with helping teens gain the experience and skills necessary to stay safe on the road. Statistics show that motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States. Per mile driven, drivers ages 16 to 19 have crash rates approximately four times greater than those of drivers ages 20 and older. Fatal crash risk is highest for those ages 16 and 17.
"Car accident prevention statistics show that there are three common critical errors newly licensed teen drivers make that lead to serious crashes: lack of scanning to detect and respond to hazards, driving too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle."
Parental reinforcement of basic driving skills and good decision making will lead to safe driving habits that will last a lifetime. The Partners for Safe Teen Driving presentation is aimed at helping parents keep their teens safe as they gain those skills.
Each year, more than 45 high school students are killed and thousands more are injured on Virginia’s roadways. Hospitalization and rehabilitation costs, lost time from school, and other costs associated with long-term injuries create substantial emotional, physical and financial problems for students, their families and communities.
Parents and families – not the school – are in the best position to encourage responsible behavior and have a sustained effect on minimizing risks faced by inexperienced drivers.
Adolescent Brain Development
Scientists now know that the decision-making portion of the teenager’s brain is not mature and the impulse control portion of the brain does not physically mature until about age 25.
As a result, teenagers often fail to realize that fast driving, texting while driving, drinking, drag racing and having too many passengers are dangerous activities. Teenagers need active parental supervision, especially where driving is concerned!