If you have a teen driver in the home and haven’t seen this video from AAA, then stop everything and watch it right now. Then, go get your teen driver and have them watch it as well.
AAA recently released this video along with a report on the latest trends in teen driving and accidents caused by distracted driving by teens. According to the study, most of the accidents involving teens were caused by a distraction.
Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes. [AAA website]
There are many ways to combat the perils of distracted driving. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to know the facts about distracted driving. EndDD.org is a great resource for more information and statistics about distracted driving.
Another option is to have your teen driver sign a contract with you agreeing that they will avoid distractions while driving or be held accountable. You can find recommendations for such a contract from EndDD here, or from AAA here. You might also want to write your own, using these as templates, and laying out consequences you know will keep your teen in check.
Finally, some parents are turning to technology to ensure their teens aren’t engaging in distracted driving. Chevrolet has recently released software in the 2016 Malibu that will mute the radio until seat belts are buckled, and even allows parents to set a top speed. Other car makers will surely follow suit.
Whatever option you and your family choose, making sure your teen driver is safe should be your first concern. Make sure you pick an option that will work for all of you.