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Teen Driving: Young Drivers and Safe Driving

February 8, 2013

Safe driving – risks for young drivers

Some driving statistics for young drivers:

  • US:
    • leading cause of death in the US for teenagers between 12 and 19 years old is accidents (unintentional injuries);
    • accidents (unintentional injuries) represent 48% of deaths of teenagers; Teen Driving Guide
    • 73% of accidents where teenagers have died are in the form of motor vehicle accidents.
  •  Australia:
    • 1 in 10 teenagers in Australia have had a motor vehicle accident;
    • 418 young drivers and their passengers aged 15-24 years old die from motor vehicle accidents every year;
    • rate of death for male teenagers between 15 and 19 years old is 19 deaths per 100,000 and for those between 20 and 24 years old is 25 deaths per 100,000;
    • rate of death for female young drivers between 15 and 24 years old is 7 per 100,000.
  • UK:
    • 1 in 5 young drivers in the UK has a motor vehicle accident within six months of passing the driving test;
    • A 17 or 18 year old teen driver is three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident in comparison to motorists overall.

Safe driving tips for young drivers

1. Take a proper driving instructions course with a licensed driving instructor.

2. Use the right car, not a sports car or a car which is not fully functioning or repaired.

3. Avoid distractions:

  • drive alone or with family, not friends;
  • do not use the cellphone when driving;
  • do not talk, text or use the internet when driving;
  • do not eat or drink when driving.

4. Practice defensive driving strategies.

5. Use the vehicle’s safety features:

  • wear seat belts;
  • ensure safety equipment such as air bags, safety glass, anti-lock brakes etc are functioning.

6. Do not drive after dark for the first year of driving.

7. Young drivers should not participate in recreational driving for the first few months of getting their license.

8. Young drivers must stop as soon as they feel sleepy.

9. Absolutely no driving after consuming alcohol or using recreational drugs.

10. OBEY road rules and speed limits.

Safe driving tips for parents or carers of young drivers

1. Pick the right car for your teen or young driver.

2. Discuss and implement ‘household driving rules’ or ‘driving contract’. Household driving rules should include the ‘Safe driving tips for young drivers’ in the section above.

3. Encourage your teen or young driver to call you immediately on the occurrence of an accident, no matter how small the accident is. Calls must be made without consequences to the teen or young driver.

4. Be good role models for your teen or young driver.