Teen Driver Safety Week Fact Sheet
From 2015 through 2017, an average of over 100 young people (ages 16-25) died per year on Washington roads. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people age 16 to 25.
Young drivers age 16-25 represent only 13% of licensed drivers, but about 31% of all fatalities and 34% of all serious injuries in Washington.
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 20-26, 2019.
It’s a great time for parents and family members to focus on helping their teens learn how to be safe drivers. All of us have a role in starting teens on a lifetime of safe driving habits.
Take part. If you have a teen driver, know your role, the rules, and the risks.
Teen Driving Risk Factors
Drugs and Alcohol: in fatal crashes involving young drivers and impairment, 78% of the time the young driver is the one impaired.
7% of high school students reported driving one or more times in the previous 30 days under the influence of alcohol.
17% reported riding with someone that was under the influence of alcohol.
12% reported driving one or more times within three hours of consuming marijuana.
Distracted Driving: in fatal crashes involving young drivers and distraction, 84% of the time the young driver is the one distracted.
23% of high school students reported texting while driving one or more times in the previous 30 days.
Speeding: in fatal crashes involving young drivers and speeding, 86% of the time the young driver is the one speeding.
Seatbelts: 35% of young drivers who were killed in crashes were not wearing seatbelts.
When Teens are Behind the Wheel, Parents Should Stay in the Driver’s Seat
Your teen may be behind the wheel, but as a parent you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to nurturing adolescents into becoming safe, responsible drivers.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, self-reported surveys show that teens with parents who set and enforce firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.
As a parent you can:
Participate in GDL: Encourage your young drivers to participate in Washington’s graduated drivers licensing program. Washington’s GDL has been statistically proven to produce safer drivers.
Set the rules of the road: Your teen’s intermediate license places legal restrictions on teen driving (see below), but parents and guardians should establish rules appropriate to each individual teen. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Make it clear that violating the rules will have repercussions.
Be a Road Model: Drive like someone is watching you, because they are. Drive sober, buckle-up, hands on the wheel and off the phone and obey speed limits. If you make exceptions, your teen will too.
Coach: Your teen is required to get 50 supervised hours of practice to get their license. You can do more than just ride along. Coach good driving skills and good behavior – enforcing the law and your own rules. Log your teen’s progress either in a hard-copy log available from the Department of Licensing, or use the free Road Ready app.
Attend: Washington’s driver training schools offer a parent’s night. Go and find out how you can be more involved in your teen’s driver education.
Know and enforce intermediate license restrictions: 16-year-old Washington residents who complete a driver training course and meet additional requirements will be issued an intermediate driver’s license, which carries specific restrictions until the driver is 18. The restrictions are focused on reducing common safety risks for teen crashes relating to passengers, nighttime driving and distraction. Specifically:
No passenger under 20 years old except for immediate family members (spouse, child, stepchild, or siblings, either by birth or marriage), for the first six months.
Next six months to age 18: no more than 3 passengers under 20 years old who aren’t members of your immediate family
No driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or licensed driver at least age 25.
Cell Phone Use
No use of a wireless device, including hands-free devices, unless reporting an emergency.
“Can I borrow the car keys?” doesn’t need to be one of the scariest questions a teen will ask a parent or guardian. Parents who have a role retain control. For more ideas and resources visit WADrivetoZero.com.