Distraction a top issue for teen drivers, but experience, parent involvement still key.

NSC Encourages Parent Education During Prom, Graduation Season

Itasca, IL – A National Safety Council poll found teen drivers are largely aware of the risks associated with driving while distracted, with more than half reporting distraction by technology almost contributed to a crash or put themselves and others at risk. But only 31 percent of adults and 28 percent of teens identified inexperience as the biggest risk.

In observance of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month this May, and at the height of prom and graduation season, the National Safety Council urges parents to stay involved with their teen drivers and stresses the need for building driving experience.

“Car crashes remain the number one killer of teens. Certainly distractions—including smartphones, infotainment systems built right into the car and even peer passengers—are risks teen drivers need to avoid. But it all boils down to inexperience. One of the best things parents can do is to stay involved and help their teen build the experience needed to become a safer driver.”

The survey also found that 60% of teens describe driving as somewhat or very stressful. By staying involved and helping teens become more experienced and confident drivers, parents can help alleviate some of that stress.

Here are some key tips for parents:

  • Other teen passengers are among the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44%, two passengers doubles fatal crash risk, and three or more quadruples crash risk, According to Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.
  • Model good behaviors. Ninety-five percent of parents who drive distracted do so in front of their teens, according to an NSC survey.
  • Keep household rules in place even after school lets out. One third of parents surveyed said they allow risky behaviors, like driving late at night, during summer break.
  • Practice with teens, even after licensure, to ensure they are retaining good driving habits.
  • Set household cell phone rules. More than half of teens feel pressure to respond to their families while driving, according to an NSC survey.

NSC encourages parents with new teen drivers to use resources from DriveitHOME.org to help them become effective driving coaches. DriveitHOME.org includes tips, driving lessons and a New Driver Deal that parents and teens can use to outline household driving rules. Parents also can see all the risks their new teen drivers face, including drowsy driving. Finally, DriveitHOME’s new monitoring technology page can help guide parents on the best options for extending their involvement, even when they can’t be in the passenger seat.

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