The important role of parents in the learning to drive process is being reinforced by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its partners to commemorate National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 17-23).
Millions of teens are learning to drive at an especially difficult time – amid a pandemic-fueled boom in risky and dangerous driving on U.S. roads.
“Teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal crash due to inexperience and maturity,” said GHSA Senior Director of External Engagement Pam Shadel Fischer, a nationally recognized teen safe driving expert and co-author of Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving. “Parents have spent the last 19 months focused on their children’s health and safety during the pandemic. That attention to safety can easily extend to driving – and the best way to do that is for parents and teens to work together to ensure young drivers build the skills necessary to keep themselves and everyone else on the road safe.”
The past year and a half have been challenging for many families due to pandemic-induced social, economic and transportation upheavals. GHSA offers three key recommendations for parents of teen drivers that can positively impact their child’s safety:
- Know and enforce your state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, which phases in driving privileges as teens gain more experience. Research confirms the effectiveness of GDL laws in reducing fatalities involving teen drivers. Additional information about state GDL and novice driver laws can be found on the GHSA website.
- Schedule regular driving practice with your teen, even after they’re licensed to drive without supervision. Teens whose parents actively monitor their driving are less likely to be involved in a crash and to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, driving impaired or distracted, and not buckling up.
- Collaborate with your teen to create and enforce a parent-teen driving agreement (PTDA) that clearly states the rules and the consequences for violating them. Posting the PTDA in a location where everyone will see it, such as on the refrigerator or adjacent to the car keys, will help to reinforce its importance.