Follow rules of the road during Teen Driver Safety Week
October 17, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 17, 2010
Here’s a surprising fact: Research shows parents as the single greatest influence on teens’ driving.
Between Sunday and Saturday, the state celebrates National Teen Driver Safety Week to bring attention to the laws governing new drivers — and the impacts parents have on teens by setting limits and modeling responsible driving behavior.
For the second consecutive year, State Farm has provided a grant to the state Traffic Safety Commission to remind parents of teens about the resources available to teach teens to drive safely. Look for public service announcements on local broadcast stations throughout the week.
The grant also funded a website — a clearinghouse for teen driving information — for Washington parents.
Motor vehicle crashes is a leading cause of death among teens age 16-19 in Washington, and has caused the deaths of 27 teens in 2010. Through 2008-09, 84 teens died in traffic crashes.
Though 16-19 year-olds accounted for 4.2 percent of all licensed drivers last year, they accounted for 9.1 percent of all drivers in fatal crashes in Washington.
Parents: Take the following steps to help teens become safer drivers:
- Enforce the intermediate driver licensing law. During the first six months, teens cannot carry passengers younger than 20, and in the next six months they can transport only three passengers at a time younger than 20. Moreover, teens cannot drive from 1-5 a.m.
- Since June 10, teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving — including hands-free devices — unless they happen to be reporting emergencies. Drivers can get a full license at 18.
- Set a good driving example. Parents have the greatest influence on their teens’ driving habits, behaviors, and skills.
- Even though teens may seem to ignore their parent’s behavior and advice most of the time, teens learn by watching their parents. When driving with a teen, parents should model the behavior they would like their teens to practice when they are behind the wheel: buckle up, slow down and focus on the road.
- Consider establishing a teen-parent contract to clearly define driving expectations for the household.
- Schedule supervised practice driving; 50 hours is a minimum to learn the complicated skill of driving.
- Watch teens driving correctly. Praise them when they use good judgment, discipline them when needed and be honest with them about the reasons.
- Gradually introduce new privileges after a teen driver receives his or her license based on model driving behavior.
- Limit teen driving trips to those with a purpose and on low-speed roads during daytime hours.