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More Good Ideas for Protecting Teenage Drivers

Limit nighttime and weekend driving.

Many teens drive at night for the first time in summer, with the night driving privilege often extended all at once. Treat night driving like the new experience it is and allow independent night driving only after significant supervised night driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 42 percent of fatal crashes involving teenagers happened between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. And the later it gets, the greater the chance that alcohol is involved. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System determined the risk of teenage drunk driving fatality is nearly 200 times as great at 1 a.m. Sunday as the risk nine hours later at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Not surprisingly the risk of crash deaths also increases on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with 54 percent of teenage motor vehicle deaths in 2003 occurring on weekend nights.

Require your teen to obey the law: Revoke privileges if they speed, drink and drive.

Parents must insist their children wear safety belts, whether the child is the driver or a passenger. In general, teenagers are less likely than adults to wear safety belts, and failure to buckle up plays a significant role in teen driving deaths: About two-thirds of teens who are killed in crashes are not buckled up. Safety-belt usage becomes more lax with alcohol consumption. Teen drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking. In 2003, 74 percent of the young drivers who had been drinking and were killed in crashes were not wearing safety belts. Teenagers’ crashes and violations are more likely to involve speeding than those of older drivers, and most fatal crashes occur at high speed. The thrill seeking associated with immaturity (physical and emotional) can overtake what the driver knows to be the right thing to do. Nearly a third of drivers ages 15 to 20 who were killed in car crashes in 2003 had been drinking.


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