Before Handing Over the Keys, Make Sure Your Teen Knows the Rules
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 21-27, 2018
COLUMBUS – National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 21-27, and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment and John Born, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), which includes the Ohio State Highway Patrol are encouraging all parents not to hand over the keys until their teens know the rules of the road.
“Education and increased awareness can help protect teens from the severe dangers and consequences of distracted driving,” Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment said. “I urge parents to have conversations with their teen drivers to establish rules that will help keep them and those around them safe while on the road.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease, and violence. In Ohio, teen drivers were involved in 135,882 traffic crashes from 2015 to 2017. An action on the part of the teen driver contributed to 15 percent of these crashes. Crashes where teen drivers were at fault resulted in 285 fatalities and 41,917 injuries.
Parents play an important role in helping ensure their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road. Ohio Department of Insurance provides the following insurance tips for teen drivers:
- Parents should conduct an insurance review with an agent to secure adequate insurance for their teen driver. Having a teen driver in the house can affect the family’s auto insurance premium.
- The type of vehicle a teen driver uses as well as driving violations can impact the cost of insurance.
- Most insurance companies offer discounts for having more than one car on a policy or having both your auto and homeowners insurance with the same company.
- Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Ohio Department of Insurance consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526 and visit insurance.ohio.gov for information.
Additionally, NHTSA’s website, www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving, and outlines the basic rules parents can use to help reduce the risks for teen drivers:
- Don’t Drive Impaired. All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally, in 2016, nearly one out of five teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. But alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep your teen from driving safely: In 2016, 6.5 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 were current users of marijuana. Like many other drugs, marijuana affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task, and marijuana slows reaction times, affecting the driver’s ability to drive safely. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance – including illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs – could have deadly consequences.
- Buckle Up — Every Trip, Every Time. Everyone — Front Seat and Back. Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle, and it is required in all 50 States. Yet too many teens are not buckling up, and neither are their passengers. In fact, there were 569 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and more than half (54%) of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. Even more troubling, in 85 percent of cases when the teen driver was unbuckled, the passengers were also unbuckled. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what – front seat and back.
- Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. Distractions while driving are more than just risky—they can be deadly, and are outlawed in 47 States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2016, among teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting and using a phone while driving. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use; other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
- Follow the Posted Speed Limit. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens. In 2016, almost one-third (31%) of teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to always drive within the speed limit
- Passengers in a teen’s car can lead to disastrous consequences. Per data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were 2.5 times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger, when compared to driving alone. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when driving with multiple passengers.
- Avoid Driving Drowsy. Teens are busier than ever – studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and spending time with friends are among the long list of things they do to fill their time. However, with all of these activities, teens tend to compromise something very important: sleep. Driving drowsy is a dangerous habit that can lead to drowsy driving. Make sure your teen gets a good night’s sleep; their grades, their friends, their passengers, and other drivers will thank them (and you!) because they’ll be safer on the road.
“Parents can help protect their teen drivers by talking with them about these risks, not just this week, but every week,” said ODPS Director John Born. “Remind your children, if they are distracted, they are not driving.”
Explaining the rules and any other restrictions outlined in Ohio’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) lawand the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices can help encourage teens to exhibit safe driving behaviors.
“One poor decision while driving can have a lasting impact and stay with a teen driver for the rest of their life,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “That is why responsibility, awareness and safety are so important for our youngest drivers.”
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn safer driving tips for your teens, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.