Keeping Teens Safe on the Road

Keeping Teens Safe on the Road

Are you concerned about what can happen when your teen gets behind the wheel or is a passenger of a teen driver? You have good reason. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. 

A big part of the problem: Drinking and driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 high schoolers drinks and drives. They also report that high school students drive intoxicated about 2.4 million times each month. In addition, teen drivers are 17 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash when they have alcohol in their system as opposed to when they are sober.

The same holds true for marijuana and other drugs. A report from Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) found that one in five teens admit driving under the influence of marijuana, and one in four say they would take a ride from a driver impaired by alcohol or prescription drugs. 

These statistics paint an alarming picture. So, what is a parent to do?

Here’s some advice from the CDC:

Parents can:

  • Understand that most teens who drink do so to get drunk.
  • Recognize the dangers of teen drinking and driving and that teen drivers are at much greater risk of crashing after drinking alcohol than adult drivers.
  • Provide teens with a safe way to get home (such as picking them up or paying for a cab) if their driver has been drinking.
  • Model safe driving behavior.
  • Consider tools like parent-teen driving agreements to set and enforce the “rules of the road” for new drivers. Safe driving habits for teens include the following:
    • Never drink and drive
    • Wear a seat belt on every trip—and that includes everyone in the car.
    • Limit nighttime driving
    • Set a limit on the number of teen passengers
    • Never use a cell phone or text while driving
    • Obey speed limits

Teens can:

  • Choose to never drink and drive.
  • Choose a designated driver.
  • Refuse to ride in a car with a teen driver who has been drinking.
  • Follow “rules of the road” in their parent-teen driving agreement.
  • Wear a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Never use a cell phone or text while driving.

Call Us for Help:

If your child or teen has a substance use problem, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is here to help. For more information on our chemical dependency treatment services, call (516) 997-2926, ext. 229 or 231. To make an appointment for an assessment, call (516) 626-1971, ext. 318 or 338.

Sources:

https://www.sadd.org/

https://www.today.com/parents/7-ways-stop-teens-drinking-driving-real-718976

https://www.safekids.org/press-release/number-one-killer-teens-motor-vehicle-crashes

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/teendrinkinganddriving/index.html