Early studies concluded that graduated licensing was having a positive impact on the number of teen deaths as a result of auto accidents. However, a study released in February of this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that the number of 16-and-17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased dramatically for the first six months of 2012, based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, attributes much of the increase to the fact that the benefit of state Graduated Driver Licensing laws may be leveling off, as most of these laws have been in place for some time.
While our states play a role in setting limitations for new drivers, it’s up to us as parents to take the lead in helping our teens become safe drivers. Most often, we supply the car, the keys and the insurance, and we need to be involved in teaching skills and supervising their driving.
What can parents to do to help our teens drive safer?
1. Learn the GDL requirements for your state. The Governor Highway Safety Association has a Chart of Graduated Licensing Requirements available on their website.
2. Enforce the rules. Hold your teens accountable for abiding by all requirements set by the state, and those you impose yourself.
3. Check with your insurance company. Most major insurance companies have teen driver programs that offer tips and tools, teen driver courses and driving logs, all designed to better prepare new drivers.
4. Set a good example. Brush up your own driving skills and follow the law. Abolish the “do as I say, not as I do” rule when it comes to driving. While they may not always acknowledge it, teens do listen to what we say and take note of how we act.
There are lots of tips and tricks you can find on the web, but what are yours? Is there something you’ve found helpful in teaching your teen to drive safely?