This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and we want to ensure that all young drivers stay safe on the roads. David Greene from our friends at Greene & Phillips joined us to talk about driving safety for teens.
The following questions and answers were provided by Greene and Phillips:
David, exactly how dangerous is it for teen drivers to be on the road?
Having a child who is driving age, can be incredibly scary. My son recently turned 16 and is now driving, so this is a constant discussion in our household. One thing that’s really important is to make sure your kid has the correct training. The public school system offers some very good driver’s ed programs, but there are also some very good private driver’s ed courses that can help your teen learn the basics of driving in a closed course.
What are some things parents can do to remind their kids to stay safe?
First and foremost, they need to always wear their seat belt. It only takes a second to fasten it, and it could end up being a life or death decision. Also talk with them about distracted driving. We hear a lot about texting and driving, but it goes further than that. Talking on the cell phone, too many passengers in the vehicle, and their music being too loud are all examples of distracted driving. In 2015, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Young drivers need to be focused on the roadways at all times.
How often should parents be having these conversations with their kids?
As often as possible. Parents – you’ve guided your teen this far. Driving is a new chapter, a step toward independence for many teens. But your job is not done. Surveys show that teens with parents who set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes. But your kids can’t listen if you don’t talk.
What about the dangers of teen driving under the influence? That’s a big problem, as well, isn’t it?
All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol, however nationally in 2015, almost one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences. Also remind young drivers to be cautious of others on the roadways who may be under the influence, especially at night. Tell them that if they see someone driving erratically or swerving to keep a safe distance, and when they can, call the police. Defensive driving is one way that our kids can stay safe on the roadways. Things like looking ahead, controlling your speed, maintaining a safe distance, preparing accordingly for weather conditions, watching out for other drivers, and of course being free of all distractions.
David, if our viewers have any further questions, how can they contact you?
They can call us at 300-2000, find us at greenephillips.com, or just stop by our office on their lunch break. You never need an appointment, and we’d be happy to sit down with you over a cup of coffee, and do our best to answer your questions.