Teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other age bracket. According to the AAA Foundation, crashes involving teen drivers led to 371,645 injuries and 2,927 deaths in 2013 alone. Many of these injuries and deaths occurred during the summer, when teens are out of school. AAA nicknamed the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 Deadliest Days” for this reason. To help reduce the risk of your teen being involved in an accident, consider these teen driver safety tips:
Talk to Your Kids about Driving Safely
Talk to your teen and ensure she knows how you expect her to behave. Some of these conversations should include:
- When, where, and with whom she can drive
- Rules for cell phone use while driving
- The dangers of texting and driving
Texas does not currently have a statewide ban on texting and driving, but some cities have enacted ordinances prohibiting it. Regardless, establish your own texting rules for your child. These conversations establish the boundaries you set for your teen, so it is important to mention any potential consequences if she fails to follow these rules.
Follow Through with Consequences
If your teen breaks the rules you set, follow through with the consequences you outlined. These may include grounding, losing the chance to go to a much-anticipated event, and/or losing driving privileges.
Make sure you choose the consequences carefully. Make sure you can and will back up what you say.
Consider an App or Device to Monitor Teen Driving Behavior
Modern technology offers a wealth of options to monitor driving behavior remotely. Devices and smartphone apps allow parents to see the car’s location, speed, and other information on their phone or computer. Many of these devices plug into the car’s diagnostic port, but others are smartphone apps installed on your teen’s phone.
These apps and devices vary based on the level of monitoring provided. While some of them record the driving behavior, others allow you to log on and set limits, see the car’s current location, and other important information. If the car exceeds your speed boundaries or crosses outside of your location boundaries, these devices send an automated text or email to you notifying you of the breach.
Some smartphone apps have the added benefit of disabling texting and other features while the car is in motion. Before investing in any of these, it is a good idea to talk with your insurance company. Some have their own apps or devices that offer discounts in exchange for their use.
Address Drinking and Driving
Many parents do not discuss drinking and driving with their teen, either because they believe their teen would never engage in the behavior or they are not prepared to have the conversation. Even if you believe your teen would never drink and get behind the wheel, take some time to have the conversation.
Go beyond simply telling your teen she should never drink and drive; a better idea is to address the situation directly, giving your teen a safe option to get home if she does decide to drink. For many families, this includes a pledge or agreement that she can call home for a ride, no questions asked.
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