By Matt Nasworthy, AAA Spokesperson, The Auto Club Group
Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In 2016 alone, more than 3,500 teens lost their lives in car crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA). About a quarter of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking and thanks to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it was learned that almost 60% of teen crashes are caused by distraction.
The most common forms of distraction leading to a teen driver crash include: 15% interacting with one or more passengers, 12% using a cell phone, 10% looking at something in the vehicle, 9% looking at something outside the vehicle, 8% singing/dancing to music, 6% grooming and 6% reaching for an object.
Parents, educators and teens are encouraged to discuss the dangers of driving impaired and distracted.
Here are some tips for parents and guardians responsible for young drivers: Have conversations early and often about the dangers of underage drinking, impaired driving and driving distracted, make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules against these dangerous behaviors, stay engaged as teens learn to drive and monitor their activity to ensure safety and teach by example and put safety first by not participating in these activities yourself.
“When we help teens drive safely, everyone on the road wins,” said Amy Stracke, Manager Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA – the Auto Club Group.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the learning-to-drive process. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in vehicle coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills. AAA also offers membership discounts for new teen drivers to help keep them safe on the road in case of an emergency.
For teen driving tips, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.