Educating Teen Drivers and Their Parents During Teen Driver Safety Week

Educating Teen Drivers and Their Parents During Teen Driver Safety Week

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers ages 15 to 19. In 2015, there were 2,333 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 100,000 teens were injured. [1] In other words, an average of six teens die every day from motor vehicle injuries. This age range coincides with the age most Americans begin driving. However, a study determined that only 25% of parents engage in a meaningful dialogue with their children concerning the dangers associated with driving. [2]

Parents can help improve teen driver safety

Led by the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Teen Driver Safety Week raises awareness of the risks inherent to new drivers.  The campaign targets both teen drivers and their parents  [3] with the message that teen driving accidents can be reduced through an effort by parents to spell out (and subsequently enforce) rules relating to their children using vehicles on the road. When a new driver pledges to follow such rules, the number of accidents involving teens is expected to decrease dramatically. [4]

Rules to support safe teen driving

NHTSA has developed “5 To Drive”, a list of rules for safer teen driving [5]:

  1. No alcohol. It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink in the United States, yet 2015 crash data shows that nearly one out of five teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes had been driving.
  2. No cell phone use or texting while driving. One in three teens who text say they have done so while driving. [7] Ten percent of all drivers ages 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  3. No driving or riding without a seat belt. In 2015, 58 percent of people ages 16 to 20 who died in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
  4. No speeding. Speeding was a factor in nearly one-third of fatal crashes involving teens in 2015. [7] Teens who are monitored more closely are less inclined to speed.
  5. No extra passengers. Teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with another teen compared to when driving alone, according to a study analyzed by NHTSA.

Parents who enforce these five guidelines will undoubtedly save lives. For tips on how to protect your teens as they hit the roadways, click here.

When parents set clear rules about driving — and when young drivers know that breaking the rules means losing their driving privileges — we will reduce the number of teen motor vehicle deaths and injuries.


[2] Facts courtesy of “Teen Driver Safety Week Campaign Materials,” available at

[3] Teen Driver Safety Week homepage and related resources available at Materials,” available at

[4] National Safety Council connects the dots between ground rules for driving and a reduction in accidents at