Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens

The single most important step you can take to protect the life of your teen is to be actively involved in the learning-to-drive experience. Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead.

Everyone Is At Risk

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Between 2013 and 2017, 1,932 drivers ages 15-17 years old were killed in crashes involving teen drivers.

Nearly two-thirds of people killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel

Brain Development

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Physical Changes

Physical changes, such as the reduction in gray matter, in the teen brain reflect experience and environment. Making mistakes is partly how the brain optimally grows. Teens are more likely to develop safe driving habits if parents regularly discuss and model appropriate behavior.

Emotion

As the teen brain develops, differences in decision-making and judgment may occur in situations that are emotionally exciting or have high social impact. Teens take more risks behind the wheel in the presence of friends as compared to driving alone or with a responsible adult.

Impulse control

A teen’s brain is only about 80 percent developed. Regions responsible for suppressing impulses and weighing the consequences of actions are still under construction. Even among seemingly responsible teens, underage drinking is highly likely to result in drunken driving.

Judgement

The brain develops back to front. The last section to connect is the frontal lobe, which is responsible for reasoning, planning and judgment. Because the area that helps teens assess risks is still developing, speeding to beat a red light or texting while driving may not register as highly dangerous actions.

60% OF TEEN DRIVER CRASHES INVOLVE DISTRACTION

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teen driving distractions

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YOUNG PASSENGERS

One of the most dangerous sources of distraction for teen drivers, whether due to horseplay, loud music, rowdy behavior or peer pressure, is teen passengers. Fifteen percent of teen driver crashes happen when the driver is interacting with other young passengers in the vehicle.

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CELL PHONE USE

On average, 12 percent of teen driver crashes involved cell phone use in the moments leading up to the incident. Those same teens also failed to react more than half of the time before a rear-end collision.

Distracted Driving Teens Make up

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Other Distractions

Anything that takes your attention away from the demanding task of driving can increase your crash risk, including grooming, eating, or even reaching for items inside the vehicle.

Safety Features to Look For When Choosing a Car for Your Teen

Scroll through the icons to see different safety features and click on the red pulsing dots for additional information

ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL

Uses automatic braking of individual wheels to aid the vehicle during extreme steering maneuvers.

 ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL WARNING

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Automatic Crash Notification Systems

Detects deployed airbags, crash force and if the vehicle rolled over

Automatic crash notification

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Anti-lock Braking System

Helps drivers retain the ability to steer while simultaneously braking hard

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AIRBAGS

In conjunction with seat belt use, airbags help protect occupants from severe injuries in a collision.

Air Bags Car Safety

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Backup Camera System

Rear cameras help drivers avoid objects while traveling in reverse.

Backup Camera

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Lane Departure Warning System

Helps drivers remain in their lane, and not drift into adjacent lanes.

Lane Departure Car Safety

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Forward Collision Avoidance/Warning Systems

Warns the driver of a potential collision situation.

Forward Collision Avoidance

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Parking Assist

Detects if a parking space is large enough or if something is too close to the vehicle.

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Blind Spot Monitoring & Detection

Alerts the driver when a vehicle is in a blind spot.

Blind Spot Detector

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AAA’s Tips for Parental Involvement

According to research, teens value the opinions of their parents most of all (even if it doesn’t always seem like it).
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  • Talk with your teen about personal responsibility, the ability to follow rules and any other concerns before beginning the learning-to-drive process.

  • Your teen has been watching you drive for years, but you might want to step up your driving game now. Always wear your seat belt, obey traffic laws, never talk or text on the phone while driving and don’t speed.

  • Expose your teen to various weather, lighting and traffic conditions, as well as road types. By teaching under low-risk conditions and gradually introducing new conditions, you help your teen gain needed experience through practice driving.

  • Create a parent-teen agreement that puts expectations and consequences in writing.

  • Setting boundaries will clarify your expectations and can inform your teen’s decisions down the line.

  • Be active in the learning-to-drive process. Maintain an ongoing dialogue about your teen’s driving, appropriately restrict driving privileges and conduct plenty of supervised practice driving.

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MORE THAN 80% Of teens

say parents are the leading influence in their decision whether to drink or not.

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SUPERVISING OR EVEN PROVIDING ALCOHOL DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD

Through social host liability laws, adults can face fines and possible jail time if underage people are served alcohol on their property.

parents are the leading influence

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The best bet is to take a confident, assertive role

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Take away message

Even the best and brightest teen drivers have an increased risk of being involved in a deadly crash compared with experienced adult drivers

The good news is that you can play a critical role in your teen´s learning-to-drive proccess. Now is the time to begin a potentially life-saving dialogue with your teen, setting and enforcing rules, and modeling safe and responsible driving to avoid crashes.