Summer is high season for car crashes involving young drivers. All year long, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are nearly three times more likely than other motorists to be involved in fatal collisions, but the number of teen road fatalities spikes an additional 20 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day. When teens take the wheel, parents need to stress safety—not just for the summer, but for years to come. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Insist on education.
Teens who participate in a formal driver education program are safer on the road. “Research confirms what conventional wisdom tells us: Driver education makes a difference,” says AAA automotive safety expert William Van Tassel. Young drivers who complete training receive 40 percent fewer traffic-related convictions than those who don’t attend a formal program.
Get expert guidance.
Parents can sign up for the AAA StartSmart program, a two-hour webinar that guide them through the job of teaching a new driver—perhaps the most critical instruction their children will ever have.
Monitor late bloomers.
A growing number of teens wait a few years before getting licenses, which means they skip state-imposed graduated licensing requirements. But new drivers need limits and supervision, no matter their age. Studies show that an 18- or 19-year-old driver with a full license but little experience could be unprepared for unsupervised, unrestricted driving.