Teen drivers face many risks – including distracted driving and texting and driving – and are three times more likely to be in an accident than more experienced drivers. And even though teen drinking and driving has declined, one in 10 teens still drinks and drives. Be Smart. Be Well. interviewed experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as real parents and real teens, to learn more about the risks teen drivers face and how they can manage them.
In Teen to Teen: Are You A Safe Driver?, a group of New Jersey teens gets together for lunch and talks about driving. Emily throws out this interesting thought, “If someone asks you to close your eyes for six seconds while driving you’d say ‘No way, that’s so stupid.’ But if someone’s like, answer this text message you’re like, ‘Alright.’”
In Parents You Are The Key, Erin Sauber-Schatz, PH D, MPH, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cannot stress parental involvement enough. “The number one crash risk for teens is inexperience, “ she says. “They need to practice with the parent, so that the parent can pass on their knowledge and experience.”
Bryan interviews various friends about learning to drive in Teen to Teen: Are You A Safe Driver. Bryan: “Do you feel like enough kids get practice in all weather conditions?” Osama: “Not at all. Not at all. Some parents don’t even let their children drive in the rain and the snow, so they get no practice at all. So when they go out, and their parents let ’em, they wouldn’t know how to drive.”
In Working Together: The Parent-Teen Driver Agreement, Tanya’s daughter Daija agrees to sign an agreement, which will give her additional privileges if she follows set rules as a new driver; but it also brings penalties if she does not. The parents work out the penalties together. Tanya: “Let’s talk about consequences.” Daija: Curfew violation.” Tanya: “Yeah …it’s not up for discussion…curfew. You just need to respect that.”
In Parents You Are The Key, Eliseo Saldivar, a Driver Safety Instructor, puts things in perspective for parents. “When your kids are young, you look for the best day care; you look for the best car seat,” he says. “And all of sudden your kid is old enough to drive. Parents should help their kids be the best drivers they can be.”