When I turned 16 my parents had three teenage drivers in their home. My brother was 18 and my sister, 19. Now that I have a young adult and think about her driving…I honestly don’t know how my mom and dad slept at night when we were out!
I learned some interesting statistics at The Allstate Foundation #60Summit, some of them may seem obvious and some scary, but they all underscore that education and action are key to keeping our roads safer for everyone on them.
But what is surprising is the fact that the numbers reveal the need to increase parents’ knowledge of the teen driving issue and help define the role they play in preparing their teens for driving.
Teens Behind the Wheel
• On average, nearly 10 teens die every day in car crashes
• The leading cause of teen car crashes is inexperience1 – This is something that I want to comment on because I tweeted that fact out on Twitter during one of the summit sessions. Someone retweeted me with #shocker in front of the tweet. Now maybe they were surprised, but I honestly think they were mocking my tweet. In other words “obviously they are inexperienced and thus crashing, they are teens and have just started driving”….but if it’s so logical, why don’t all states have more mandatory learning hours where the teens need to be driving with a licensed adult driver?? Some states don’t require it at all for a teen to get a driving permit, now that’s a #shocker.
• The most dangerous year of a person’s life is the year after they obtain a driver’s license1
• Teens generally say the most positive influence on their behavior is their parents and a mere 5% say friends are more important.1 Demonstrating good driving behaviors is helpful in teaching teens safe driving according to 99% of parents2. BUT really how many of us…talk on the phone, are distracted by our kids, eat while we drive, put on lipstick, sip a latté….while we’re driving? How can we expect our kids to not do the same, when they see us doing it and we’re their biggest influence?
• Research shows that stronger teen driver safety laws can save nearly 2,000 lives annually2
• Half of American parents find it difficult to control teen driving privileges citing other, more lenient parents’ influence1 — That statistic seems insane to me, just goes to show you that peer pressure doesn’t end when you’re a teenager.
• The majority of parents (88%) trust their teen to drive safely3
• A little more than half of American parents (55%) believe if their teen was in an accident, it would be someone else’s fault2
• One in 4 parents say they are too busy to fully monitor their teen’s driving1
• Only 60% of parents are aware of GDL laws, or are even vaguely informed of this program that has been proven to save teen lives.2 – Question: Do you know what GDL stands for? Surprisingly most parents of teens don’t, it’s the Graduated Driver’s License laws (which are different in each state – in South Dakota the GDL starts at 14, which I think is insane).
1 National Safety Council Parent Education Campaign
2 The Allstate Foundation License to Save Report
3 The Allstate Foundation Research
I have to admit after learning about these statistics, hearing the stories, and watching the presentations, I’m not eager to have my daughter start driving. She wasn’t itching for car keys when she could get a learner’s permit, and now I’m kind of glad. After a family discussion, we’ve decided to put it off for a couple of years, when she is a bit more mature.
It was very eye opening to hear first hand stories from teen driving accident survivors, first responders and medical professionals on what they’ve seen; which also reinforced the notion to me that getting a driver’s license and being able to drive is a privilege not an entitlement.
So what do you think of those statistics? Do you fall into any of them? Either from your experience when driving as a teen or your children’s? How about the parent perceptions?
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I was invited to participate in a summit with The Allstate Foundation, for which they provided full travel expenses, meals, accommodations and/or other premiums, however my opinions are completely my own and I have not been compensated to publish positive or negative reviews of the event or products associated with my experience.