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Teen Driving

For many teens, receiving a driver's license is one of their most exciting and memorable moments. But the sobering fact that nearly 6,000 teenagers are killed in car crashes and about 300,000 are injured every year is a reminder why it is so important to teach teens about safe driving.

4 Guidelines for Teaching Teens about Driving Distractions, from Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)

  1. Know and enforce your state's Graduated Driver License laws and restrictions, including unsupervised driving, time of day, and passengers in the car.
  2. Sign a teen driving contract, such as SADD's Contract for Life.
  3. Set family driving rules with clear consequences for breaking the rules. SADD recommends rules such as:
    • No alcohol or drug use
    • No cell phone use, including text messaging
    • No driving after 10 PM
    • Keep two hands on the wheel at all times -- no eating, changing CDs, handling iPods, or other activities while driving
    • Limit or restrict friends in the car without an adult
  4. Follow your own family's rules. Your teen will follow your driving example, so be sure you are keeping your own rules.

According to a recent survey, 46% of 16- and 17-year-olds admit to text messaging while driving. That's a frightening statistic, considering that AAA found that the risk for a car accident increases by 50% for those who text while driving.


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What Moms Can Do to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

3 out of 4 teens in a recent study said that their parents are the biggest influence on how they drive, according to Allstate. It's important for moms to be the kind of driver they want their kids to emulate.

Modern technology, busy schedules, and other reckless drivers pose distractions on the road. SADD suggests tips for both moms and teens to follow in order to help avoid distractions that could lead to car accidents.

Pull off the road before placing any cell phone calls. Do not drive while dialing or texting. Teens need to understand that no text message is worth dying for. Use speed-dialing or voice-activated dialing if you have to make a call while driving.

If you need to take any notes, pull over. Do not attempt to write down information such as directions while driving. Keep a tape recorder in your car if you need to gather information on the road.

Let incoming calls go to voicemail. You can call back later when you are not driving.

If you are having a conversation while you are in the car, know when to stop talking. If the conversation is long, emotional, or stressful, continue it when you are off the road.

Other activities to avoid doing while driving include eating, drinking, and applying makeup.

It is important for the entire family to practice responsible driving.

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Connect with Other Moms about Teen Driving

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Related Momlogic Stories on Teen Driving

  1. Allstate: Teen Drivers in Good Hands
  2. Texting and Driving Deadly for Teens
  3. Teen Calls Police on Herself

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Additional Resources on Teen Driving