Got a Teen Driver? The first year of licensure for teens is the most dangerous, deadly dangerous.
- Car accidents are the number one killer of teens. More than 12 young drivers lose their lives in car crashes each day – more than suicide, homicide and disease combined!
- The rate of fatal car crashes involving those 16- 19 is four times higher than that of those 35-54.
- Almost 60% of those who die in teen crashes are those other than the teens themselves.
- Half of all teens will be involved in a crash before graduating high school.
We are facing a national crisis, but there are things we can do as parents to bring that number down and protect our teens. Graduated Driver License (GDL) law is one of them. It has been credited with lowering teen driver crashes, injuries and fatalities to historic lows in New Jersey. However, according to teen driving safety advocate Pam Fisher, 68 per cent of N.J. parents surveyed knew little about the law.
Some provisions of the GDL laws in force around the nation include:
- at least 65 supervised practice hours (Pennsylvania)
- during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. (Idaho and in South Carolina)
- a ban on all teen passengers (15 states and D.C.)
Does it work? Yes. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research has shown that states with the strongest laws reap the biggest reductions in fatal crashes among 15-17-year-old drivers and the biggest reductions in collisions reported to insurers among 16-17-year-old drivers, compared with states with weaker laws.
Fisher says that it’s the parents that hold the key to lowering teen crash risks. To prove it, she cites research done by the Allstate Foundation that teens themselves report that their parents are the number one influence when it comes to learning to drive. So how can we educate the parents on GDL and best practices? It’s going to take more than web sites, fliers and brochures. Fisher issued a challenge for all wanting to reduce teen crashes: Have a one-on-one conversation with one parent each week about GDL. Keep it simple. Most parents of teens will welcome the message about how they can keep their children safe.
The number one rule is to stay involved. This is crucial. Doing so, we can help teens beat the odds as they gain experience during that first year and make the transition from novice to experienced driver.
There are excellent resources on the web to help. DriveitHOME™, a program developed by the National Safety Council, is a resource for parents. And TeenDriverSource.org is another. We encourage you to refer to and share proven, effective ways to help our teen drivers through this most dangerous year…and beyond.
Freedom Insurance wants to help keep you and your family safe. Call us for answers about Maryland’s Graduated Driver Licensing System.
Freedom Insurance Agency