If you have a teen, your child has moved from child-safety seats to the backseat to, gulp, the driver’s seat. While your teen driver might know the rules of the road better than you do, your job as parents isn’t over just because they got their driver’s license. More than 4,000 teen drivers (ages 15-20) were involved in fatal car crashes in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those crashes, 1,900 teen drivers died and 180,000 were injured while driving.
It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week which runs through Saturday, October 26th. This is a week-long opportunity to remind your teen driver of your safe-driving expectations and to become familiar with all the tools that can help keep your child safe while driving.
- Parent-Teen Driving Contract: You can use the AAA form that I recommend or create one of your own, but be sure to outline when your teen can and can’t drive or get in the car with another teen driver. Here is a link to a printable contract: http://www.aaa-calif.com/auto/safety/Parent_teencontract.pdf Big Brother? Try Big Mother: Several automakers offer in-car monitoring to make sure that your teen isn’t driving too fast or out of your agreed upon area. There are a lot of aftermarket systems out there too.
- A New Set of Wheels: If you’re considering buying your teen a new car, be sure to check the car’s crash-test scores before signing on the dotted line. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a new small overlap front crash test that simulates a 40-mph collision with a tree or light pole. You can refer to my article on this subject: http://www.carprousa.com/your-kids-first-car-car-pro-commentary
- Set the Standard: As a parent, you know that your actions often speak louder than your words. So make sure your cellphone is put away whenever you’re behind the wheel, allowing you to set a good example for your teen driver.