Teen Driving : Rules to Set

Most people were ‘teen drivers’ at one time. Now that most parents have teens of their own, it’s time to lay some ground rules in making sure they drive safe and drive smart.  Car Accidents involving teen drivers are still increasing.  There are many reasons for this, but the main cause is distracted driving. Face it, teen drivers are the most inexperienced drivers on the road today.

2017 Teen Driver Car Accident Statistics

  • 17,321 teen drivers in Pennsylvania were involved in crashes
  • 2,526 teens were killed in crashes nationwide
  • Nine percent of teenage motor accidents involved distracted driving
  • In 2017, motorcycle riders aged 15-20 were killed, an 11 percent increase from 2016
  • 1,830 drivers aged 15-20 were killed in alcohol-related crashes
  • 22 percent of teen drivers were not wearing a restraint during a crash, but account for 57 percent of fatalities

Teen Drivers, Cell Phones, and Texting

  • 32.8% of high school students nationwide have texted or e-mailed while driving.
  • 12% of distracted drivers involved in fatal car accidents were teens ages 15 to 19.
  • Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident and can slow a young driver’s reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.
  • Drivers under the age of 20 make up the largest percentage of distracted drivers.
  • 56% of teens admit to talking on cell phones while driving.
  • 13% of teens admit to texting while driving.
  • 34% of teens age 16 and 17 admit that they send and respond to text messages while driving.
  • 48% of kids ages 12 to 17 report being in a car when the driver was texting.

Underage Drinking & Driving Statistics

  • About 1/4 of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving. (MADD)
  • About 5.8% of 16- and 17-year-olds and 15.1% of 18- to 20-year-olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year. (MADD)
  • About 8.2% of high school students reported driving a car or other vehicle one or more times when they had been drinking alcohol.
  • 13.5% of 12th graders reported driving after drinking.
  • Kids who start drinking young are 7x more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash. (MADD)
  • 33% of the young drivers ages 15 to 20 who were killed in crashes had a BAC of .01 or higher and 28% had a BAC of .08 or higher (the legal limit for drivers over age 21).
  • Nearly 60% of young drivers involved in fatal drinking and driving crashes didn’t use a seat belt.
  • 70 % of young drivers who died in underage drinking and driving accidents didn’t use a seat belt.
  • 27% of the young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking at the time of the crash, compared with 15% of the young female drivers involved in fatal crashes.

These four (4) rules will help in keeping your teen driver safe while they are behind the wheel:

  • Talk to your kids about traffic safety early and often, before they reach driving age, but don’t stop there.  Have conversations with the parents of your kids’ peer groups and compare notes—both are key to your teens’ safety.  (In 2011, car accidents were the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S.  That year, 2,015 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes. Almost half (45%) of those teen drivers died in the crash.)
  • Show your kids safe driving behavior. Start by modeling good habits any time you drive, even before they begin to drive.  Turn off your cell phone and put it in the glove compartment before putting your key in the ignition.  (Talking is important, but action is even better.)
  • Set ground rules and outline the consequences for breaking them in a Parent-Teen Driving Contract.  Consider hanging your contract by the family car keys or near the front door.
  • Set rules for your teen driver. Make sure they follow these. It’ll put your mind to ease knowing they are that much safer.


– No Extra Passengers

– No Speeding


– Seat belts – ALWAYS!

These tips/rules can have a real impact on your teen driver. Let them know that you are serious about these rules. Make sure they know:  Driving is a privilege and not a right.

With these tips and rules in hand, it’ll ease both your mind and also the mind of your teen driver.