Amica Insurance offers tips for National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct.16-22)

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Amica Insurance reminds parents that National Teen Driving Safety Week is a great opportunity to talk with your teenager about driving safety.

"Driving can be especially dangerous for inexperienced drivers," said Lisa Melton of Amica Insurance. "That’s why parents and guardians need to discuss safe driving habits with their teens, long before they get behind the wheel."

Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America – with an average of eight teens a day killed in car crashes. That’s why Amica supports National Teen Driver Safety Week and reminds parents to talk to their teenagers about driving safety.

“Young drivers need to be reminded of the dangers that come with driving,” said Lisa Melton, an assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. Consider these statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Most crashes happen during the first year a teenager has his or her license.
  • The risk of being involved in a crash increases when teens drive with other teens in the car.
  • Most fatal car crashes, for all ages, occur at night.
  • Drivers aged 15 to 20 are three times as likely to get into fatal crashes as all other drivers.

“Driving can be especially dangerous for inexperienced drivers,” Melton said. “That’s why parents and guardians need to discuss safe driving habits with their teens, long before they get behind the wheel.”

If your child will be driving soon, be a responsible role model, Melton said. Teenagers will model adult driving habits. It’s also important to choose a reliable driving school that provides the classroom and on-the-road training a young driver needs. Parents should also practice driving with their teens. Give them plenty of practice driving at different times of days, on different roads and with different weather conditions. The more time they drive, the better drivers they will be, Melton said.

“Remember, too, that not all teenagers are ready to drive at the same age,” Melton said. Consider whether your teen is responsible enough to drive before allowing him or her to obtain a driver’s permit or driver’s license. If not, wait a few months before reconsidering.

Once your teen gets his or her license, be sure to set firm rules about their driving, Melton said. Restrict the number of passengers they can have in their car, especially while they are novice drivers. Set curfews to get them off the roads by 9 or 10 p.m., to reduce the risk of late-night crashes.

“Research shows which behaviors contribute to teen-related crashes: Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (such as cell phone use, loud music or other teen passengers), drowsy driving, nighttime driving and other drug use aggravate this problem,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website.

The NHTSA and the CDC also offer these safe driving tips:

  • Always wear a seatbelt to prevent death or serious injury.
  • Never text while driving. Avoid other distractions, including talking on cell phones, eating or playing with the radio while behind the wheel.
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs if you will be driving.
  • Follow all traffic laws. Stick to the speed limit. Don’t tailgate.
  • Be aware of road and traffic conditions. Drive defensively.

“National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great opportunity to remind your teens about driving safety,” Melton said. “Hopefully, they’ll develop good driving habits that will last a lifetime.”

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Vince Burks