by Brandon Davison-Tracy, MD
Many of our families are facing a new phase in life: a teenager who is driving. While having a child who drives can definitely make your life easier, it also can cause a great deal of anxiety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in U.S. teens. Many of these accidents are preventable. Please share the following information about driving safety with your teen before he/she gets behind the wheel.
Distractions while Driving
Texting and talking on the phone while driving are major distractions, take the driver’s focus away from the road, and are prohibited for new drivers. Remind your teen that it is against Colorado law for drivers under 18 to talk on a cell phone, and texting while driving is illegal for all
drivers. The CDC states that every day in the United States, more than nine people are killed and 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Even eating can be a distraction and shouldn’t be done while driving.
Driving with Other Teens
Colorado has a Graduated Driver Licensing
system that has laws for beginner drivers. One of the restrictions has to do with the number of passengers a new driver can have in the car. Review the laws with your teen and make sure they are enforced.
Driving While Drowsy or at Night
Most teens don’t get enough quality sleep, so they are at most risk in the early mornings or late at night. Keep tabs on your teen’s schedule so he/she is not driving when drowsy. Fatal car crashes are most likely to occur at night, so make sure your child is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. in the first six months. Also, practice driving at night with your teen as often as possible.
Driving While Impaired
While the percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive
has decreased by more than half since 1991, it’s still crucial to talk to your kids about the dangers of having even one drink before driving.
Lead by Example
As with most of the parenting information we provide, setting a good example is critically important. The Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
is a great tool that sets expectations and limits for both your teen and you. Print off copies, sign and post where they will be seen regularly.
Be safe, and contact us
with any questions.
Source and for more information: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/index.html
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.