Despite a consistently aggressive approach to teen driving safety by schools, police and traffic safety groups, more teens die in vehicle accidents than any other way, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With all the attention focused lately on the dangers of distracted driving, many did not make the connection between teenagers and these same handheld devices causing so many accidents. Teenagers as a group are the single largest user of handheld devices. They send millions of more text messages each month than any other group, and they are also avid social media network users, checking in daily on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
This type of semi-addicted behavior toward technology, couple with their inexperience behind the wheel creates the perfect storm of dangerous driving habits.
More than any other time, this week is devoted to reminding teenagers that although they might feel immortal, they simply are not. Studies have shown that when it comes to people they are most likely to listen to, parents have the most positive impact on their own children. Sit down with your kids this week, even the ones who might not be old enough to drive yet, and discuss the risks inherent in getting behind the wheel. Set some ground rules for the teenagers you have who are ready to get behind the wheel. Make certain they understand that you require them to employ defensive driving techniques because you love them, care about them and know the odds are against them when it comes to surviving their teen driving years. And don’t be afraid to set decidedly draconian punishments if they fail to follow rules such as “no cell phones behind the wheel” or seat belts must always be worn by every passenger in the vehicle.
If you love your teenagers and want to keep them safe, then celebrate National Teen Driver Safety Week the right way–the safe way.