Teens have a significantly higher risk of serious injury or death in an auto accident than other age groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal collisions are three times more likely to affect drivers ages 16 to 19 than older drivers, and male teens in this age group have more than double the risk than female teens.
Parents should be aware of the risks for new drivers and teach these safety tips to help keep new drivers safe.
Get plenty of practice
More time spent behind the wheel practicing with a learner’s permit correlates with safer driving habits and lower accident risk. Oregon requires teens to spend at least 50 hours behind the wheel with an approved instructor or 100 hours with a driver older than 21 before taking the test for a provisional license.
Oregon has a graduated license program that prohibits new drivers from traveling with other teens, a factor that the CDC notes significantly increases accident risk. For the first six months, teens may not drive with any passenger younger than 20 unless the passenger is in the driver’s immediate family (younger brother or sister, for example). For the second six months, the law prohibits a teen driver from having more than three passengers younger than 20. Keep in mind that the risk of collision increases in this age group with every additional teen passenger.
Wear a seat belt
The CDC says that proper use of a seat belt can cut the risk of serious injury or death in half if an auto accident occurs. Set a good example for your teen by wearing your own seat belt on every trip, and remind him or her to do the same.
Remind your teen that texting and driving, along with other forms of distraction, can be as dangerous as drunk driving. As with seat belt use, model the behavior you want your teen to display.
With these four tips, you can provide your child with the foundational knowledge needed to become a safe driver.