Late fall can be a dangerous time for teenage drivers.
The combination of early darkness, inclement weather and inexperience can lead to accidents, and the potential for tragedy becomes greater if you mix in distractions and alcohol. Each day, more than 15 fatalities occur in crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.
"Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens," says Emily Clark, State Farm public affairs specialist. "While promoting teen driver safety requires a year-round commitment, the fall timeframe is critically important. As teens return to school, attend homecoming and begin managing very busy schedules, we want them to keep safe driving practices at the top of their minds."
If you are the parent or guardian of a newly licensed teen driver, follow these five steps to help reduce your teen's crash risk:
- Set a nighttime driving curfew of 10 p.m. or earlier.
- During your teen's first six months of driving, do not allow him or her to drive with passengers aboard.
- Ban all cell phone use -- both handheld and hands-free devices -- while driving.
- Prohibit alcohol.
- Mandate safety belt use whenever your teen is in a car.
To help teens avoid the peril of in-car distractions, the National Safety Council is a proponent of restricting vehicle use during a teen's first several months of driving.
"The principles of Graduated Driver Licensing are proven to reduce teen crash risk by up to 40 percent," says Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "The Council urges parents to better understand teen crash risks and coach their teens through agreed expectations and consequences. We all share the roads with teen drivers, so this is a great time to discuss these issues with the teens and parents in our lives."
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