National Teen Driver Safety Week draws to an end

National Teen Driver Safety Week is observed October 20 to 26 this year. While this week is coming to a close, it is important that teenage driver safety is prioritized in Boston all year long. Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teenagers, and part of this is due to the fact that many teenagers may be ill-prepared to obtain their driver’s licenses.

Becoming a safe driver requires knowledge of traffic rules, experience on the roads, and a strong understanding of the serious responsibilities drivers accept every time they get behind the wheel.

Massachusetts, like all states, now has a graduated driver’s licensing program that helps instill knowledge, experience and a sense of responsibility in young drivers. And, these programs have been credited with cutting teen accident rates by as much as 40 percent.

GDL programs, however, are not enough on their own. The programs need the support of parents, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, in order to get through to teens.

GDL programs vary from state to state, but essentially they grant driving privileges to teenagers slowly, as they gain more experience and become more mature drivers. For example, driving at night and driving with teenage passengers is initially restricted.

This week, the GHSA encouraged parents to practice GDL rules and principles in their own homes. It has been reported that a teenager’s risk of getting into a dangerous car accident is sliced in half if his or her parents set driving rules and are involved in a supportive manner.

Teens with parents who are involved to such an extent are 71 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated than their peers.

This week, parents should be reminded that they can help keep their children safe as they reach the important milestone of getting their first driver’s licenses. Even after teens are licensed, parents can continue to drive with them and teach them to be safe drivers.

Source: Forbes, “Teens With Parents Who Set Driving Rules 71% Less Likely To Drive Drunk, GHSA Says,” Tanya Mohn, Oct. 22, 2013