Tips for keeping teen drivers safe

BALTIMORE - Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers. AAA Mid-Atlantic has put together the following tips for parents to keep their teen drivers safe:

  • Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose - Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on the amount of miles driven, and a teen's crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Parents should limit teens' driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.
     
  • Become an effective driving coach - The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving, where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together to help the teen manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions. AAA's Teaching Your Teens to Drive coaching program is a great tool to help parents become effective driving coaches for their teens and is available at 800-327-3444.

Click to the next page for AAA's other tips.

  • Limit the number of teen passengers and time as a passenger - Teen crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone.

Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers. Crash risk begins to increase at the age of 12, well before a teen can obtain a driver's permit or license – and before many parents start to think about their children being at risk riding as a passenger of a teen driver.

Parents should set firm rules against driving with teen passengers and restrict their teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver. As a reminder, Maryland law prohibits newly-licensed drivers under the age of 18 from carrying passengers under 18, except for family members, for the first five (5) months of licensure.

  • Restrict night driving – A teen driver's chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles when driving at night. Many parents rightly limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet they should limit evening driving as well, as more than half of night-time crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Although Maryland law allows newly-licensed drivers under 18 to drive up until 12 midnight, AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends that these drivers not drive after 9 or 10 p.m. unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

  • 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. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website.

The comprehensive website offers a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process, to include AAA StartSmart, a free online resource based on a research-tested program for families developed by the National Institutes of Health.

Why is teen summer driving so dangerous?  Find out here.

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