The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a four-pronged approach to prevent driving-related accidents among teen drivers. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S. Compared to drivers in other age groups, drivers age 15- to 20-years old are involved in three times as many fatal crashes. Crashes are responsible for 35 percent of all teen deaths.
According to research, the inexperience and immaturity of teen drivers is aggravated by speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seatbelts, driving at night and distracted driving.Therefore, the NHTSA has developed a site to provide information about increasing seat belt use, implementing graduated driver licensing (GDL), reducing teen access to alcohol and parental responsibility.
Seat belt use – In 2006, observed seat belt use among 16- to 24-year olds stood at just 76 percent, the lowest of any age group. For the same year, 58 percent of people aged 16 to 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were unbuckled.
GDL laws – Three-stage GDL laws have been shown to address the issues of immaturity and inexperience, they primary factor contributing to deadly crashes of teens. These laws reduce high-risk exposure for new drivers. The District of Columbia and 46 states employ these laws and analysis shows that crashes have decreased as much as 50 percent for 16- to 17-year olds.
Teen access to alcohol – A major deterrent for violating youth access laws is enforcing in a highly visible way the laws governing underage purchase, possession and provision laws. Parental responsibility is also key in helping teens stay safe.
Parental responsibility – Setting standards for your teen and enforcing is central to safe driving. Remind your child driving is a privilege, one he will lose if he doesn’t follow the rules.
- No alcohol
- Always use seatbelts
- No cell phone or texting while driving
- Maximum of one passenger at all times