Sergio Avila

AAA: Parents Are the Key to Teen Driver Success

Surveys show teens whose parents set rules for driving engaged in less risky driving behaviors.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2021) – No one influences teen driver safety more than parents. For that influence to work, parents need to talk to their teenagers about the risks of driving. During National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 17-23) , AAA Northern California and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want to encourage a dialogue between parents and teens.

“Teen drivers are still gaining experience behind the wheel,” said Sergio Avila spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Parents can help them make smart choices to stay safe on the road by sharing their experience.”

AAA Northern California recommends parents discuss these five topics with their teen driver:

  1. Impaired driving: Remind teens that driving under the influence of any impairing substance - including illicit or prescription drugs over-the-counter medication - is dangerous.
  2. Seatbelt safety: Teens are the least likely age group to wear a seatbelt while driving. Parents can encourage the use of the seatbelt by discussing the importance of always wearing a seatbelt as the driver or passenger.
  3. Distracted driving: The presence of distractions like passengers, devices and even eating, make it more difficult for drivers to react to road hazards. In addition to discussing the dangers of distracted driving, parents should model safe driving behaviors by refraining from distractions behind the wheel.
  4. Speed limits: Teenagers are more likely than other age groups to speed. Discuss the correlation between speed and reaction time with their teens and encourage them to obey posted speed limits.
  5. Passengers: Teens are more likely to be distracted by passengers than other age groups, especially if passengers are other teens.

NHTSA offers parents resources on how to initiate a dialogue about safe driving. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety, visit