Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers

Car crashes - the #1 killer of teens - take about 3,000 young lives every year. That's 8 teen deaths each day that can prevented. As a parent, you should know that the main cause of teen crashes is driver inexperience. All new drives - even straight-A students and "good kids" - are likelier than experienced drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. It's a fact. 

The good news is that you can make a difference by getting involved with your teen's driving. It's not just good parenting, it's a matter of life and death. You need to talk to your kids about traffic safety early and often - before they reach driving age. When your teenager begins driving, we recommend that you set rules and clearly outline the consequences of breaking the rules.

We know that getting through to your teen can be tough, but research tells us that teens listen to their parents, and that you influence your kid's driving habits. Remind your teenager that driving is a privilege- a privilege they will lose if they don't drive by your rules.

Set the standard

You need to teach safe driving behavior from the beginning. As the parent, you can start by modeling safe driving behavior anytime you drive your kids anywhere, even before they begin to drive.

Talk to your teen about safety issues and the rules you are setting. Explain each one of your rules and the consequences for breaking it. Write up a contract with your teen driver to make sure they drive by the rules and drive as safely as possible. Include the most important issues. Here's how:

Spell out the rules (click here for more details)
  1. Alcohol: Absolutely no alcohol 
  2. Seat belts: Always buckle up! 
  3. Cell phone/texting: No talking on texting while driving 
  4. Curfew: have the car in the driveway by 10 p.m. 
  5. Passengers: No more than one at all times 
  6. Graduated Driver's License: Follow the state's GDL law 
  7. Parental Responsibility: Set your house rules and consequences 
  8. CA parent teen driving contract