“Life feels more care-free when school’s out and teens have more opportunities to drive or ride in cars late at night with other teens — a deadly mix,” said Lori Cook, safety advisor for AAA East Central. “The majority of the most dangerous days occur during the traditional summer vacation months so parents must realize that there is no summer break from safety. Be vigilant, remain involved and enforce driving rules with teens.”
According to AAA, more than 7,300 teen drivers and passengers ages 13-19 died in traffic crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays during the five-year period of 2005-2009. An average of 422 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the deadly summer months as compared to a monthly average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.
Many states have restrictions on passengers and on night driving for teens under Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. A recent poll by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows a clear majority, 7 out of 10 Americans, favor stricter enforcement of driving laws. But regardless of the law, parents play a critical role in keeping teens safe.
AAA suggests the following tips for parents to keep teen drivers safe:
• Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose — Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven
• Become an effective driving coach — The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving
• Limit the number of teen passengers and time as a passenger — Teen crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle
• Establish a parent-teen driving agreement — Many parents and teens find written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car and more.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.