Although motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, there are steps that you and they can take to ensure their safety:
1. Make sure that your teens are enrolled in and graduate an authorized driving training program before they get their license. Research has shown that the comprehensive drivers licensing programs reduce fatalities and injuries by 40% respectively.
2. Insist that your teens always wear their seatbelts – just as you do.
3. Be a role model for your kids: don’t drive after drinking or let somebody else drive who has been drinking. Always have a DD – Designated Driver – when going out partying.
4. Talk to your kids about not making assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. The only thing you can assume about another driver with a turn signal on is that he has a turn signal on. He might not be turning at all and forgot to turn it off the last time he used it or has changed his mind. Of course, you know this. Right?!
5. SUVs, trucks and large cars for your teens may be harder to maneuver for inexperienced drivers and the added ride height of SUVs greatly increases their risk of dangerous rollover accidents. Medium to small cars appear to be the best vehicles for teens and they should:
• Earn a 4- or 5-star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s front and side crash test
• Have a 4- or 5-star NHTSA rollover rating
• Weigh at least 3,300 pounds
• Need more than 8 seconds, but less than 11, to go from 0 to 60 mph, a range recommended by Consumer Reports
• Have available antilock brakes and side air bags