Teen drivers have an increased risk of auto accident involvement compared with adults who have more experience behind the wheel. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that drivers ages 16 to 19 have a higher risk for collision than any other age group.
Teaching teens good driving habits helps protect them on the road. Start by sharing these three safety tips for new drivers.
Never drive distracted
Texting and smartphone use significantly contribute to the prevalence of auto accidents, particularly among teens. Teach your child to focus only on the road and his or her surroundings when operating a vehicle. Eating, applying makeup and conducting other nondriving activities behind the wheel also constitute distractions. Set a good example for your new driver by avoiding these actions.
Select a safe car
Some vehicles have better crash test scores than others. Make sure your child drives a reliable car with good safety ratings. Consider investing in advanced driver assistance technology designed to prevent collisions.
Follow restricted license laws
New Jersey has a graduated license program that increases the privileges and responsibilities of teen drivers as they gain experience. Make sure your teen follows the appropriate rules for each level:
- Learner’s Permit (age 16): The person must pass a vision and knowledge test and complete at least six hours of approved road instruction. With the permit, he or she can practice supervised driving for six months with a licensed driver age 21 or older.
- Probationary License (age 17): The driver cannot operate a vehicle between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for documented religious or employment reasons. The person can have only one additional passenger and it must be his or her parent, guardian or dependent.
- Basic License (age 18+): After a year of driving with the probationary license, the driver can obtain an unrestricted license.
Abiding by these rules decreases the risk of a car crash. It also enforces the importance of following driving regulations as a new license holder.