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Safety Tips for Teenage Drivers

Teen driving with instructorMotor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death involving teens. Every day, approximately eight teen drivers ages 16 to 17 in New York State are treated at a hospital due to crashes. This number would fill close to 100 high school classrooms – and results in approximately $30 million in annual charges in New York alone.

In the United States, eight teens age 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes. Per mile driven, teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.

As a parent, you have a responsibility to keep your teenage drivers – and those they share the road with – safe. Discuss and comply with the NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law. Talk to your kids about good driving practices. The following teen driving safety tips will help get the conversation started:

Set a Good Example

Teach by example — if you expect your teenagers to be good drivers, show them what that means. Follow the law — don't speed and do drive carefully.

Enroll Your Teen in Driver’s Education Classes

Help your teens better prepare for the road.

Driver's Education Classes

Provide comprehensive programs that include both classroom training, driving observation and in-car driving instruction and practice. Program usually held at high schools and colleges and approved by the New York State Education Department. Teenagers who complete this type of course will receive an MV-285 certificate. With an MV-285 certificate, your teens will be eligible to have their licenses converted from a junior to a senior license once they turn 17.

Defensive Driving Classes

Provide in-depth training for real-life circumstances, including how to maneuver around an accident, handle changing weather conditions and apply different braking techniques. Your teens will learn how to drive more defensively by recognizing and changing risky driving behaviors.

Smart Teen Driving Programs

Take the Pledge

The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Make the commitment to drive phone-free today.

The Pledge

Sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

Once you have set rules for your teen driver, a driving agreement can help you enforce them. Talk about why the rules are important to follow, as well as consequences for breaking them. Then, work with your teen to draft and sign a parent-teen driving agreement. Writing the rules into an agreement will put everyone on the same page about your family's rules of the road.

Parent-Teen Agreement

Rules that should be included in the parent-teen driving contract are:

Restrict Driving at Night

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 42% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occur on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Restricting nighttime driving may be one of the best things you can do to help keep your teenager safe and secure.

"Put your phone down" signNo Cell Phone Use or Texting While Driving

The best advice you could give your teens is to turn their cell phones off while driving. If they need to take a call while in the car, advise them to safely pull off to the side of the road, then talk. Since texting while driving also makes your teen four times more likely to cause a crash, they should NEVER text while operating a motor vehicle.

Limit Passengers

Statistics show that teen driving crash rates increase by 50% with just one teen passenger in the car, and by 400% with three or more teen passengers. To help keep your teenage driver out of harms way, limit the number of passengers allowed in the car while he or she is driving.

Wear a Safety Belt

Safety is vital for all drivers! This is why it’s important to remind teens to wear their seat belts while driving — a small tip that could help save their life.

No Drinking, No Drowsiness

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a deadly combination. However, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous. Approximately three crashes involving fatigued teen drivers occur every week in New York State alone.

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