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What Can We Do to Keep Teen Drivers Safe on the Road?

Your teen sees a driver’s license as a step toward freedom, but you might not be sure your teen is ready for the road. One thing is certain: teens aren’t ready to have the same level of driving responsibility as older adults. Teen drivers have more fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity and lack of experience. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car. To help your teen stay safe behind the wheel, 46 States and the District of Columbia now have graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs that limit high-risk driving situations for new drivers. These programs can reduce your teen’s crash risk by as much as 50 percent.
What Can You Do?
Learn about New York GDL program, if there is one. Know the restrictions placed on your teen’s license and enforce those limits. Even if your state doesn’t have an official program, you can lay some important ground rules for your teen driver. Restrict night driving and passengers, prohibit driving while on the phone, and require seat belt use at all times.
Be a good role model. Remember that your child looks to you as a driver, so practice safe driving yourself. Set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions. It can be a great way to spend time together and to allow your teen to improve some basic driving skills. Your teen’s learning starts at home.
Don’t rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive. Remember that driver’s education should be used as just part of a GDL program.

Bottom Line:
You have more influence on your teen than you may think.
Get Involved
NHTSA and its many highway safety partners across the country are encouraging you to get the facts and start the conversations-this week and every week-to talk it out with your teens and help keep them safe behind the wheel.
Set ground rules and consequences for your teen driver, and get it in writing.
Know and understand your State’s GDL laws. Start with this GDL primer for parents
Be a role model – practice safe driving habits every time you drive.

Fact Sheets for Novice Drivers
Alcohol and Driving – Alcohol and other impairing drugs are involved in approximately 40 percent of all traffic crashes in which someone is killed each year.
Blindzone Glare Elimination – With enhanced mirror settings, you can avoid turning and looking into the blindzones. All that’s required is a glance outside the mirror to see if a car is there.
Driver Distractions – Although any distraction while driving has the potential to cause a crash, some are particularly hazardous to young drivers under 20.
Efficient Steering Techniques – Crash statistics indicate that driver errors involving steering techniques are the main causes of crashes where drivers run off the road. Teens are more likely to overcompensate when their vehicle drops off the shoulder than older drivers.
Proper Seat Belt Use – In 2012, 55 percent of all 15- to 20-year-old occupants killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing their seat belts.
Risk Management – Low-risk drivers are those who identify potential hazards, reduce risk by adjusting their speed or position, and communicate their intentions to others.
Visual Search/Perception – Scanning helps you anticipate having to change speed or roadway position because of problems ahead, such as vehicles or people that may be in the roadway or signs warning of problems ahead.
Work/Construction Zones – When approaching a work zone watch for cones, barrels, signs, large vehicles, or workers in bright colored vests to warn you and direct you where to go.
Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

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