Articles Tagged with “Teen Driver Safety Week”

carcrashNational Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place from October 14 – October 20, is a good time for parents and teenagers to talk about driving safety.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Common causes are inexperience, failure to wear a seat belt, drinking and driving, speeding and distracted driving.

Even if you have already had a conversation in the past, we encourage parents to speak to their teens about preventing car accidents and include these points:

Understand the law.The Massachusetts Junior Operator Law places restrictions on drivers from traveling with passengers under 18 during their first six months of holding a license. The lone exception is for siblings. Junior operators are also forbidden from driving between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Wear a seat belt. This reminder is always important. Teenage drivers and their passengers have some of the lowest rates of seat belt use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

No talking or texting on the cell phone. Texting while driving is illegal for any person driving in Massachusetts, and using a cell phone while driving is against the law in Massachusetts for drivers under 18. Teens face steep penalties for violations of either law. For first offenses, they face a 60-day license suspension and other sanctions. Suggest your teen put their cell phone out of sight or in the back seat when driving.

Limit food and beverage consumption. Eating while driving is very distracting. Ask your teen not to eat and to limit beverage consumption while driving. Suggest they eat before leaving home or at another safe place.

Limit driving with other teens. Conversation can be distracting for any driver, especially teens who may be excited about enjoying freedom of the road without an adult.

Avoid loud music. Music of any volume can be a distraction while driving, but loud music and adjusting the radio controls can be especially hazardous for teenage drivers.

No grooming. Remind teens they cannot focus on the road while grooming.

No speeding. Remind teen drivers to watch the speed limit, especially in school zones where they may encounter young children.

And here are some other things you can do:

Drive with your teen. Sit in the passenger seat with your teenager once in a while and observe how they handle basic driving tasks, such as stop lights, passing other cars, keeping a safe distance on the highway, and changing lanes.

Additional Resources
Parent’s Guide on Massachusetts Junior Operator Laws.

Some Statistics That You Should Know About Teen Drivers.
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Parent-teen contracts are the focus as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration observes Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 17-24.

It’s been well documented that teen drivers face more risks on the road than other drivers. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. Teen drivers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes each year as all other drivers.

Safety officials are pushing a number of efforts this Teen Driver Safety Week, including parent-teen contracts, stronger junior operator laws, improving use of seat belts and reducing teen access to alcohol.

Parent Teen Contracts
The parent-teen contracts are available from insurance companies, auto club AAA and government offices. They cover areas such as seat belt use, passengers allowed in the car, alcohol and nighttime driving. While the contracts may offer teens an insurance discount, many advocates see them as a way to involve parents. The Center for Disease Control is stressing parent involvement with its “Parents are the Key” education campaign launched this week.

Junior Operator Law
Attention is also on junior operator laws this week. Massachusetts adopted its Junior Operater Law on January 3, 2007. The law banned teens from driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., implemented a passenger restriction and instituted harsh penalties for speeding, drag-racing and negligent operation.

The law was strengthened in September 2010, when Massachusetts teen drivers were banned from using cell phones and other mobile electronic devices.

Seat Belts
Seat belts are important for every driver and passenger. But this point needs to be stressed to teens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers and their passengers are the least likely to wear safety belt – yet the most likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Reducing Teen Access to Alcohol
The consequences can be deadly when teens mix alcohol with driving. Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers had been drinking and weren’t wearing a seat belt.

For more information on the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law, click here.

For information about Teen Driver Safety Week, click here.
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