During Teen Driver Safety Week, Discuss the “5 to Drive”
For many teenagers, getting a driver’s license is an important rite of passage. For parents, however, it can be a time of concern.
It’s no small matter to hand the keys of a two-ton vehicle over to sons or daughters who not that long ago were having their training wheels taken off their bike. It’s particularly worrying when you know that motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14-to-18 year-olds. In 2012 alone, 2,055 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes, and 859 (42 percent) were killed.
At USDOT, we share the same goal as parents: to stop these tragedies from happening. Which is why we’re spreading awareness about Teen Driver Safety Week. It runs through October 25, and it’s a perfect time for parents to set some ground rules.
We call these rules the “5 to Drive,” and they might just save your child’s life. We’re asking parents and guardians to discuss these five basic rules for safe teen driving:
- No cell phone use or texting while driving;
- No extra passengers;
- No speeding;
- No alcohol; and,
- No driving or riding without a seat belt.
We need parents to discuss the “5 to Drive” with their young drivers because these dangerous driving behaviors are claiming young lives on America’s roadways.
We need teens to take these rules seriously. That will only happen if parents establish these ground rules with their children —and back them up with a zero-tolerance policy: Unsafe driving means no driving.
That’s a promise you should make to your children because it’s a promise that will keep them safe and that they will take seriously.
Whether it’s drunk or distracted driving, not wearing seat belts, or speeding, we need to redouble our efforts to help our nation's young people make the right choices—as drivers and as passengers.
So let’s get the safety conversation started. Use the “5 to Drive” and set the rules before your teens hit the road. And then keep the conversation going.
Remember, adults control the keys. “5 to Drive” is a message that needs to be reinforced again and again.
David Friedman is the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Safety Administration.