What You Can Do to Keep Your Teen Safe While They Are on the Road
This article is written for you, Mom and Dad. It's purpose is to help you prevent what is often a thoroughly preventable teen driving crash. Let's first look at what parents often misunderstand about teen driving, starting with the laws that exist to protect your teen.
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws
GDL laws are now in effect in every state in the country. They are designed to prohibit the most risk-laden driving situations for novice drivers, allowing them to gain experience and gradually be exposed to greater risk as they learn.
Allstate Insurance's "Under Your Influence" survey of 1,000 parents is published at this web site, with the kind permission of Allstate. You can find it here in its entirety. The survey results are shocking because they show how little parents know about teen driving risks...and how parents fail to take the actions needed to prevent crashes.
For example, the survey shows less than one third of parents believe teens are good drivers. Yet nearly nine in 10 parents say that their own teen can drive safely. This "not my teen syndrome" gives parents a false sense of security as parents embark on what may be the most dangerous phase of child-rearing.
When it comes to understanding laws associated with novice drivers, Allstate reports that 93 percent of parents believe they can teach their kids to drive, yet three in five have never heard of, or are only vaguely familiar with, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. Most parents, unaware of GDL laws -- which are designed to minimize a novice driver's exposure to the highest risk driving situations -- allow the exact behaviors that the laws are designed to prohibit. In simple language, ignorance of the laws puts young drivers at risk!
For example, nine in ten parents will allow their teens to drive after dark, even though crash rates skyrocket after 9PM; 77 percent allow teens to drive or ride with other teens in the car, which multiplies crash risk by up to 500 percent. Some 70 percent allow their teens to drive in bad weather even without having had experience on slippery, wet or icy roads.
You can immediately get up to speed on GDL by opening this document (PDF format) provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org. It shows you, at a high level, what the laws are in your state. Let's take a moment to review.
Reprinted with the permission of the Safe Teen Driving Club. © 2008 Safe Teen Driving Club, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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