Parent & Teen Driver Safety Resources
Car accidents are the No.1 killer of American teenagers and an international leading cause of death. To end crash fatalities and promote overall safe teen driving, the Liljegren Law Group is supporting Global Youth Traffic Safety Month this May.
In the United States, 16 to 17-year-olds are the most vulnerable with a fatal crash rate nearly 3 times higher than drivers 20 and over and twice as high as drivers aged 18 and 19.
National Teen Car Accident Fatalities
While not visible in our chart, teen fatalities in the U.S. has steadily decreased since 1975 (with the exception of a few years). And by the mid-1990s, all states adopted safer youth driving laws like today’s graduated licensing system, curfews and not allowing passengers.
The latest decade however, is facing new challenges. While there were 69 percent fewer deaths in 2015 than in 1975 (totaling 8,748), it was 3 percent more than 2014.
A new study claims 84 million drivers are sleep-deprived every day with more than half of drowsy driving accidents involving teenagers. Distracted driving is also a huge problem, from driving with too many passengers to texting and using popular apps like SnapChat. Cell phone use while driving is highest amongst 16 to 24-year olds and killed at least 3,477 people in 2015, according to the NHTSA.
To help parents effectively teach their children safe driving habits and to ensure new drivers understand the importance, we’ve compiled a list of helpful teaching resources below.
Resources to Teach Safe Driving Habits
This free half-day course teaches emergency response techniques and overall driver safety to drivers 21 and younger. Each participant will get behind the wheel with a professional race car driver to learn about evasive lane change maneuvers, panic braking, skid control instruction and more. Young drivers may also get to meet with local enforcement officers who will perform a mock sobriety test, discuss impaired driving and their rights should they ever be pulled over. Finally, Driver’s Edge covers essential car care including tire safety, proper seating positions, seat belt usage, etc. The non-profit is based in Nevada, but also travels across the country.
Rather than focusing solely on passing the driving test, teenSmart focuses on the six behavioral and social factors responsible for more than 90 percent of teen driver crashes: visual search, hazard detection, speed adjustment, space management, risk perception and lifestyle issues.
Through their computer-based driving tutorials (done at home), new drivers must demonstrate specific driving skills and will receive immediate feedback after each program. While not free, teenSMART is a widely supported and endorsed program and many insurance companies offer discounts for graduated participants.
Road Trips & Road Aware
Designed to help parents teach their children how to drive safely, Road Trips is an online program featuring driving instructors, pediatricians, behavior scientists and safety engineers. These invaluable experts offer advice on best practices for teaching new drivers, how to plan for practice drives and the mindset of your teen at each stage. It also offers free tip sheets parents can use while teaching their teen how to drive.
Road Aware is a computer simulation program designed for teens. With the main goal of teaching young drivers how to anticipate hazards, this free program allows teens to make mistakes online before hitting the streets.
Drive it Home
Drive it Home, an initiative under the National Safety Council (NSC), believes parents are the key to raising safe drivers. Designed by parents, Drive it Home provides free resources from teaching parents how to remain patient to the latest monitoring technologies and weekly lessons from their Digital Driving Coach. Parents and young drivers are also encouraged to share their own tips and ideas on how to keep teens safe while behind the wheel.
Alive at 25
This 4 ½ hour class is designed as a complementary course to driver’s ed for 15 to 24 year olds. Alive at 25 participants learn to take responsibility on the road by practicing quick yet smart decision making skills and defensive driving. While not free or a driver’s ed replacement, it’s a valuable course for many young drivers; some insurance companies may offer a premium discount for participants.
Initially a fleet safety company and leader of the “How Am I Driving?” program, Driver’s Alert focus has largely expanded to help keep all drivers, passengers and anyone else on the road safe. They offer many online safety training courses including that get more specific than most including close quarter maneuvering for small vehicles and what to do during accidents and breakdowns. Plus, given their trucking industry background, Driver’s Alert courses also cover how passenger cars can safely hare the road with 18 wheelers.
Hopefully after utilizing some of the above resources, parents will feel more at ease handing over the keys for the first solo drive. However, this exciting yet scary event also has a tendency to fuel up the “helicopter” stored away in many parents.
Distracted Driving Apps
Are they speeding or using their blinker? Is the music up too loud? Are they looking at their phones? Now parents can actually know the answers to these questions- through apps.
For the positive reinforcement parenting types, apps like Drive Beehive allow parents to reward a driver after they hit a predetermined number of safe miles. To use, the driver turns on the app and the miles begin logging; it resets to zero if they unlock their phone while driving.
For the part-time parents/part-time detectives, The Canary Project alerts parents when their teen unlocks their phone while driving. Parents can also set alerts for speeding, driving outside certain areas and missing curfew.
Apps, interestingly enough, are the latest way parents and companies are fighting distracted driving, especially with young drivers in mind. There’s a plethora to pick from, including ones directly on the phone for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon users.
Think we missed a helpful resource for parents and/or young drivers? Comment below on how it helped you and your family and we’ll take a look at it; we’re working to keep this resource page updated with sites and courses proven to help.
This list was approved by the Liljegren Law Group, who supports GYTSM and the movement to end traffic fatalities.