Keeping Teen Drivers Safe
Every state in the nation has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. GDL laws have significantly reduced teen related crashes, deaths and injuries over the years. These provisions vary greatly from state to state. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates each state on their GDL provisions. IIHS also has a GDL calculator which shows how changes to state provisions, including Nebraska’s, might affect fatal crashes among young drivers.
Parental Involvement and Education
Parents/guardians that are involved and supportive of their teen driver can greatly reduce their teen’s chance of being in a crash. Modeling safe driving behaviors is key.
Wear your seat belt.
No cell phone use.
Drive the speed limit.
Instilling these safe driving behaviors begins long before the teen drives.
Another key is practice, practice, practice. Inexperience is one of the reasons teens crash. The more they practice in various situations such as different roadways, weather conditions, and during nighttime makes them better prepared when they are in that situation by themselves. The minimum practice time should be 50 hours.
A parent-teen driving agreement is an effective tool that parents can use to facilitate a discussion about safe driving with their teen. These agreements set driving limits and rules. One online tool is the Checkpoints Program. This program educates parents on what the appropriate limits are and why.
Driver’s education courses are not only for the new teen driver. Many offer a pre-parent meeting to educate parents on the risk factors for teen drivers and the state’s GDL provisions. Driver Education courses in Nebraska.
Of the fatal teen motor vehicle crashes that occurred from 2007-2011, alcohol was involved in 30 percent of the crashes. What is the role of parents in preventing underage drinking?
- Set clear rules and expectations. Adolescents are known for testing parents and adults to see just how far they can go without repercussions. It’s our job as parents to draw a clear line and let kids know that for certain behaviors there will be consequences each and every time.
- Know your child’s friends, and their friends’ parents. Trust your child, but verify their location. If they say they’re at their friend’s house spending the night, call the friend’s parents to ensure that is, in fact, where they are, and ask the question out loud to the parents to ensure that there will be no alcohol. The majority of alcohol that kids consume is consumed at another person’s home.
- Make sure you’re home for all of your child’s parties and be certain that there is no alcohol or other drugs present.
- Set a good example for your child with your own alcohol use.
- Learn more about and get involved in policy discussions at a local and statewide level around this issue. Your voice matters.
Underage drinking should not be considered a rite of passage. Adults should never buy alcohol for minors and should use it appropriately themselves. Again, it’s imperative that together we create and shape a culture in our communities that underage drinking and providing alcohol to minors is unacceptable. If we don’t, the consequences are far too great. (Provided by Project Extra Mile)
Teens in the Driver Seat is a program being utilized by Nebraska high schools across the state to address teen driver safety. A team of teens along with their sponsor develop and deliver safety messages to their peers to create awareness and behavior change.
States that have implemented the program are seeing decreases in teen crashes, increased knowledge about safe driving and changes in driving behavior. Research shows that when teens have some of the responsibility for developing and delivering a message it is more accepted by their peers.
For more information on Nebraska’s TDS, contact Jeanne Bietz at Jeanne.firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-0361.