Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14 -18 year olds in the United States. In 2013, 39,140 crashes in Tennessee involved a driver age 20 or younger. Those crashes accounted for over thirteen percent of total crashes throughout the state. While this is a decline from 2012, it is still more than one hundred crashes each day.
Last year during Teen Driver Safety Week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched its “5 to Drive” campaign addressing the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about driving.
The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:
- No drinking and driving.
- Buckle up. Every trip. Every time. Front seat and back.
- Put it down. One text or call could wreck it all.
- Stop speeding before it stops you.
- No more than one passenger at a time.
Teen drivers need to follow these rules and all other restrictions outlined in Tennessee’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) law. Parents have a responsibility to tell their teen drivers about the rules and enforce them. Unfortunately, only about 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their kids about safe driving.
“Protecting and educating our young drivers is always a priority,” Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office said. “However, during this week in particular we ask parents and caregivers to set aside time to talk about the rules of the road. It could be a lifesaving conversation.”