Setting some ground rules for New Drivers

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  1. Insist that your teen control speed. High speeds cut down on reaction time and increase the severity of crashes. A crash at 78 miles per hour is twice as violent as one at 55 mph.*
  2. Require your teen to observe curfews. This is going to be one of your biggest challenges. However, it may be a life saver – 53 percent of all teenage motor vehicle deaths occur on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 43 percent of these accidents occur between 9 o’clock p.m. and 6 o’clock a.m.*
  3. Prohibit your teen from drinking and driving. Nearly 50 percent of traffic deaths are alcohol related. More than half of alcohol related deaths involve 16-to-20 year olds.# (24 percent of 16-to-20-year-olds killed in passenger vehicles deaths had blood alcohol contents greater than or equal to .10 percent*).
  4. Know your teenager’s friends and their driving habits. Discourage your teenager from loaning his or her vehicle to friends and from “joyriding.” Newly licensed drivers should not have other teenage passengers. (63 percent of teenage passenger deaths in 1996 occurred in crashes where another teenager was driving*). Traffic Injuries are the leading cause of all deaths for people ages 6 to 27.*
  5. Radio/cassette/disc players can be tremendous distractions. Request that your teen keep the volume low. Other distractions include eating while driving, combing their hair or applying make-up, etc. They must keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel! Another tough one, but important!
  6. Teach your teen to use seat belts. They reduce the risk of death to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to crucial injury by 50 percent. (If you’re buying a new car for yourself or your teen, insist on one equipped with air bags. They reduce injuries and fatalities even further!)


* Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
# National Safety Council


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