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Teaching Teens About Auto Safety

Every year, tens of thousands of people die or are injured in the United States due to an automobile accident. In 2009, approximately 3,000 fatalities in crashes involving younger drivers from ages 15 to 9 were reported. Most accidents occur because the drivers are careless or distracted. Many drivers take auto safety for granted but it only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen.

Teen automobile safety is an important topic that can not only save lives, but also prevent injury. Initiatives like the Graduated Driver License program have been instrumental in reducing the affect of teen driving accidents. This program creates the level of privilege that new drivers receive. Teens must first get a learners permit, where they drive with an experienced and licensed adult in the car. Then the teen can get a provisional license that limits where and when a new driver can be on the road. It includes curfews, that vary by state, but are typically enforced between the hours of 10pm and 5am. This license also does not allow passengers under a certain age unless a parent or guardian is present. Finally, the once has reached majority, he or she is given the full drivers license with no restrictions. 

Learning the rules of the road is important factor to becoming a safe driver. Creating awareness in teens about the fatal consequences of mere distractions can help to save their life. New drivers should be on alert and pay careful attention to the rules of the road and drive defensively. The main contributors to teen accidents and deaths from motor vehicles are distractions such as cell phones and driving with passengers and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The risk of fatality increases when the driver or passengers are not wearing a seat belt.

There are many organizations and campaigns that educate teens and their parents about the dangers of the road. When drivers are more aware of the consequences, they are more likely to obey the rules and regulations and drive in a safe manor. There are many youth organizations that offer peer to peer support which can benefit the way teen receive information. Ultimately, parental education can also be of assistance, as well, because parents can enforce boundaries and rules that can reduce the dangers on the road.

Overall safety is an important topic to thoroughly discuss with teens while they are learning how to drive and throughout their driving experience. Once parents and teens have been educated, the choices they make will come with consequences they are aware of. This can result in safe roads for teens as well as other drivers. 

  • Teen Motor Vehicle Safety: Automobile accidents account for the highest amount of death in the US. Teens are four times more likely to get into an automobile accident than adult drivers. This site gives helpful information keeping kids safe while behind the wheel.
  • Safe Teen Driving: Provides a list of teen related driving situations where the new driver can become distracted. There are useful suggestions to help avoid each dangerous situation.
  • National Teen Driver Safety Week: A week dedicated to educating teens and their parents about driver safety. Getting the parents involved was the number one goal with this campaign.
  • Teen Driver Crashes: A PDF report to congress outlining the top reasons for crashes in teens. There are informative suggestions that would reduce the teen crash rates.
  • Graduated Driver Licensing: The National Safety Council gives information on the three stages of licensing a teen driver goes through. The learner’s permit, a provisional license and a full license.
  • Teen Driver Source: Positive changes that are helping reduce the incidences of teen automobile accidents. National Teen Driver Safety Week is a campaign that helps spread the ways that teens can safely drive.
  • Distracted Driving: As a part of the US department of transportation, this organization is campaigning to educate teens about the distractions that can occur while driving. The hope is that this education will prevent many accidents by removing the distractions.
  • Youth for Road Safety: Y.O.U.R.S. supports the initiative to keep young people safe on the roads. They believe that the crashes are preventable and mobilizing peer to peer communication is the best course of action.
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions: This is a peer group of teenagers that originally started to help teens say no to drinking and driving. Now this organization has expanded to include helping teens combat other peer pressures.
  • Project Ignition: This is a group that is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council. They host a national teen driver safety competition.
  • Teen Driving Agreement: The American Academy of Pediatrics has a driving agreement like a contract between parents and teen drivers. This is a great contract to utilize when giving teen drivers the privilege to drive. This sets boundaries and consequences if rules are broken in advance.
  • Buying Your First Car: This website offers great tips and pointers on buying a first car. This guide walks through the car search and the paperwork that is part of buying a car.
  • Safest Cars For Teens: Consumer Report publishes a report and video on the best and most safe cars for teens each year. This list is the top rated used cars in terms of safety.
  • Teens Driving Under the Influence: US Department of Education’s Higher Education Center estimates a staggering number of teens drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impaired driving continues to be a top teen car crash contributor.
  • Drugged Driving: The National Institute on Drug Abuse has provided an extensive overview of statistics and resources for teens driving while under the influence. This information also talks about the affects of prescription medications as well.



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Matt is the Managing Partner at Leland-West Insurance Brokers, Inc. He started with the firm while still a college student, way back in 1984. According to Matt his only remaining hobby is Motorsport ... because its all he can afford ("will work for tires"). Reach him at matt@lelandwest.com