According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA), inexperience and immaturity are often to blame for risky teen driving behavior. Unfortunately, it may explain why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S.
Here's what you can do to help your teen stay safe:
- Restrict night driving. According to the GHSA, close to two-thirds of fatal crashes that occur at night with 16-year-old drivers behind the wheel are speed related.
- Limit teen passengers. The NHTSA says teens are 2.5 times more likely to exhibit risky behavior such as speeding when driving with peers.
- Enforce graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws. Many states have rules that prevent teens from driving at night or with other teens. Know the laws in your state and possibly set stricter standards.
- Share the car. The GHSA report shows that if teens have their own car, they're more likely to speed. The report also suggests that you avoid letting teens drive cars that might encourage speeding, like high-performance sport cars.
- Discuss consequences. Talk to your child about how speeding could put his or her life and license on the line. Explain how it can also be expensive, with pricey tickets that might make insurance rates rise.
- Be involved. Frequently ride with your teens to be sure they're being safe. And when you're driving, be a good role model. Always travel at a speed appropriate for the road conditions.
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