(Coppell, TX) - Car crashes are the number one cause of death and injury for teens, and one in five teen drivers will be in a crash during their first year of driving, AAA Texas urges parents to be good driving role models and help teens prepare for the most dangerous years on the road. This week, during National Teen Driver Safety Week, is a good opportunity for parents of teen drivers to have a conversation about driving safely and responsibly.
Thousands of teens, ages 16-19, are killed or injured in vehicle crashes. Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. In 2015, 1,972 young teen drivers (15 to 18 years old) were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths nationwide, of which 1,730 were teens. An estimated 99,000 teen drivers were taken to hospital emergency rooms with injuries.
A AAA survey of driving instructors revealed that parents today are worse at preparing their teens to drive than they were 10 years ago. Driving instructors reported that parents often set a bad example through their own behaviors. The survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers aged 35-55 commonly report dangerous behaviors when behind the wheel. Research also shows that teens often times mimic their driving after their parents or family members.
77 percent of drivers aged 35-55 reported talking on a cell phone while driving compared to 68 percent of teen drivers.
A similar proportion of teens and drivers aged 35-55 reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (45 percent and 46 percent, respectively).
“Parental involvement is critical to a novice teen driver’s success. Teen drivers often engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel due to lack of experience and reasoning skills,” said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas/AAA New Mexico Senior Public Affairs Representative. “By investing their time and attention, parents can help their teen driver learn the crucial skills needed to navigate the complexity of the driving environment.”
Parents demonstrating that they’re following speed laws, driving distraction-free and being focused on the task of driving will go a long way toward teens doing the same when they’re behind the wheel, Armbruster said.
Past research shows that teens with parents who impose stricter driving limits reported fewer crashes and traffic violations. AAA recommends parents stay actively involved in coaching their teens through the learning-to-drive process by:
Having conversations early and regularly about the dangers of speeding and distraction.
Taking the time to practice driving with their teens in varying conditions.
Understanding that rushing through driver training will not help the student gain valuable experience needed to become a safe driver. The best way is to schedule lessons throughout the 6 months the teen is required to hold their permit. This provides parents ample time to practice with the teen in between lessons and utilize the instructor as a coach, as well as a teacher.
Adopting and enforcing a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for the road.
Leading by example and minimizing distractions and speeding when they are driving.
AAA Texas will host a Teen Driver Safety Fair on Sat., Nov. 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Lively Pointe Youth Center, 909 N. O’Connor Road Irving, TX 75061. The event is free, open to the public, and AAA Texas has partnered with multiple community safety partners to bring awareness to the facts and risks of teen driving.
Teenagers who are about to begin the process of learning to drive or who have recently started driving can enhance their knowledge through various activities such as:
- Attempt field sobriety tests while wearing drunk goggles
- Watch paramedics demonstrate the use of stretchers
- Learn preventative maintenance tips that increase safety and reduce the cost of car ownership
- Many other interactive activities, displays, and demonstrations
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas. Find additional news from AAA Texas in our online newsroom at http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/.