Many parents are seeing their teens doing more driving. Unfortunately, most parents aren’t aware that Memorial Day kicks off what is called “The 100 Deadliest Days for Teens,” when it comes to teen vehicle crashes.

According to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a time when there’s an increase in fatal crashes involving teens. Data analysis from the foundation showed new teen drivers are three-times more likely than adults to be involved in fatal crashes.

Teens with parents who set rules, monitor their driving and are supportive are half as likely to crash and twice as likely to use seat belts than teens with less involved parents. Parents should set good examples and get involved with their teens and stay involved to make sure they follow good driving habits.

Distractions, including other teens in the vehicle, speeding, nighttime driving and lack of seat belt use are all factors that play a role in fatal teen crashes. Most of these are regulated by the Graduated Driver License Law, which parents should become familiar with in order to protect teen drivers in the beginning stages of their driving.

The law is designed to prevent cellphone use, limit the number of teen passengers that can legally ride with a novice driver and also limit nighttime driving. The law provides parents with the controls to help keep their teen drivers safe.

Many parents, however, aren’t aware of the provisions of this law — which is in force while the teen has a learner’s permit, as well as a provisional license.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Passenger Safety and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Community Health Educators want to remind parents to talk to their teens about safe driving and to follow these guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The administration reminds parents to:

• Learn about the GDL law and the restrictions placed on their teen’s license.

• Require seat belt use always.

• Talk to their teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

• Be a good role model. Remember: Teenage children look to their parents as a role model driver, so practice safe driving at all times.

• Do not rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive.

• Bottom line as a parent: It is imperative to know the dangers that teen driving poses. Parents have more influence on their teen than they may think. Be a good example and get involved in their driving habits in the beginning, and stay involved throughout their teen years.

Sharon Mitchiner is a nutrition education associate for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Galveston County.


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