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58/THE SAFETY REPORT/WINTER 2011-12
Saving AmericanTeen DriversA Guide forParents
By Shelley McKown Beasley
id you know that automobile crashes remain theleading killer or American teens? According to theNational Highway Trafc Saety Administration, in2009, about 3,000 teens in the United States aged 15–19were killed in automobile accidents and more than 350,000were treated or injuries.These statistics don’t include the number o non-teensthat were killed or injured, such as occupants o the othervehicles, passengers o the teen drivers, motorcyclists, bicy-clists or pedestrians.For many people, these statistics are just numbers. Butor someone whose son, daughter, riend, niece, nephew,grandson, granddaughter or cousin was killed in a motor ve-hicle crash, these numbers represent incredible heart breakand sorrow.Although teenage driver deaths are declining, there is stillmuch work and awareness to be done.The underlying orce behind saving teenage drivers rombecoming atal statistics is parental involvement.
Where do parents begin?
It is critical or parents to teach (by example) their teenagedriver good driving habits, monitor their behavior and setrules on seat belts, alcohol, cellphone use, curews and passengers. Their risk is at a lietime high during the frst six to 12months and 1,000 miles o driving.
to your teenage driver every day about the risks andresponsibilities o driving.Discussions and setting expectations can best happen withthe initial step o signing a written contract. (See more, page60.) The contract should list the rules and consequences o breaking the rules or your teen driver.For more inormation on conversation guidance, writtencontracts and more, you can check out these great websites;www.nsc.org, www.ghsa.org, www.nhtsa.gov orwww.teendriversource.org.
your teen driver more than the law mandates.Deensive driving courses have been proven to reduce accidents and increase awareness o sae driving.There are several private organizations that oer behind-the-wheel and classroom instruction or novice drivers, including the Institute or Drivers Saety in Tempe, Arizona. It is run