Cut Teen Crash Risks with These House Rules

Cut Teen Crash Risks with These House Rules

A mom passing her daughter the keys

A teen driver is most likely to crash in the first six months after receiving a license. That's why it's wise to increase driving privileges gradually.

Work with your teen to set clear rules for driving without adult supervision. Be sure to discuss how your teen can demonstrate experience and maturity to earn new privileges. Let him or her know the consequences of not following the rules.

Fatalities and the facts

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in the U.S.
  • The fatality rate for drivers age 16-19 is four times that of drivers age 25-69 years.
  • The crash fatality rate (crash fatalities per 100,000 population) is highest for 16- to 17-year-olds within the first six months after getting their license - and remains high through age 24.
  • The top three predictors for fatality are non-use of seat belts, teen drivers, and roads with speed limits of 45 mph or higher.
  • Approximately two-thirds of teen passenger deaths (ages 13-19) occur when other teenagers are driving.

Set permanent driving safety rules

  • Use seat belts on every trip - driver and all passengers.
  • Don't use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. Help your teen follow this rule by setting the example: Complete calls before the car is in gear, get directions in advance, check in only after arrival, and safely pull over for urgent calls.
  • Follow all driving laws, including no speeding.
  • Don't drive while impaired (drugged, drowsy, or drunk) or ride as a passenger with an impaired driver. Help your teen follow this rule by offering other ways to get home.
  • Don't ride with an unlicensed or inexperienced teen driver. Help your teen follow this rule by providing rides.

Set limits to driving privileges

  • No peer passengers.
    • Start: Only adult passengers.
    • Include siblings as passengers after first six months of driving only if they are properly restrained.
  • No nighttime driving.
    • Start: Only in daylight.
    • Gradually increase driving curfew after practicing driving at night with your teen, obeying your state's time requirement.
  • No high-speed roads.
    • Start: Only on low-volume, low-speed, familiar roads.
    • Gradually add more difficult roads after practicing together.

No driving in bad weather

  • Start: Only in fair weather driving conditions.
  • Gradually allow driving in more difficult conditions, such as light rain or snow, after practicing with your teen.

Control the keys

  • Start: Teen needs to ask for the keys (even for own vehicle).
  • Gradually increase amount teen can drive after first six months of driving responsibly.

Other tips

  • Pay attention. Keep the lines of communication open. Know where they're going and why, and discuss how they will get there and when they will be home. Provide alternatives, such as rides.
  • It's about safety, not control. Make sure your teens understand that these rules come from love and because you want to keep them safe. As their skills develop and they demonstrate responsibility, introduce new privileges.
  • Lead by example. Always wear a seat belt. Don't use a cell phone while driving. Don't speed. Don't drive while impaired. Follow the rules of the road.

For more information about teen driver safety and tools for new drivers, visit the State Farm Teen Driver Safety website.


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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.