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  September 20, 2020

Distracted Driving: How to Talk with Teen Drivers about the Risks

distracted teen drivers

As your children enter and progress through their teenage years, the world of parenting becomes noticeably different. One milestone in particular that can keep parents up at night is when their children begin driving.

As a parent, you may be wondering what you can do to help your teen stay safe while on the road, and how you can help them stay focused and alert.

Distracted driving endangers everyone on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of a crash goes up considerably with distracted driving, especially when a driver is calling or texting.1

Distracted driving claimed more than 3,100 lives in 2019.2 Distracted driving not only endangers your teen, but also their passengers, pedestrians, and others on the road like cyclists.

What parents can do to help keep their teens and others safe on the road.

If you want to know how to help keep your teen from being a distracted driver, the NHTSA recommends the following:

  • Talk to your teen! Share stories and statistics about distracted teen driving to help them understand the risks of distraction and the importance of staying focused on the road. Share with them that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for 15- to 18-year-olds (the age group they and many of their peers may be in).1

  • Tell them texts and phone calls can wait until they have reached their destination. Consider exploring a range of safe driving phone applications with your teen. Select one you both agree upon, explore its features together, and then decide how and when you will use it.

  • Make sure you and your teen are familiar with your state’s distracted driving laws and know the penalties for distracted driving.

  • Set clear consequences for distracted driving.

  • Be a good example yourself by always remaining focused on the road and not being distracted while driving.

Keep the lines of communication open with your teen so they know how important it is to stay focused and to stay safe while driving.

To access more tips on keeping your teens safe behind the wheel, visit nhtsa.gov.

  1. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving
  2. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

Categories: Safety Laws, Tweens/Teen Safety, Vehicle/Travel Safety

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