Driving can be deadly for teens, but AAA’s Web site steers teens in a safe direction
As the new school year begins, more teenagers will be hitting the road to get to and from school, including driving on the highway, driving with friends in the car and driving at night for dances and sporting events.
Gaining and enjoying that newfound freedom to drive makes it an exciting time in the life of a teen. But it’s also the most dangerous.
Young drivers, age 15- to 20-years-old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury behind the wheel, with traffic crashes ranking as the leading cause of death for that age group in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Although the simple skills of driving like steering, signaling and stopping can be mastered in a few hours, safe driving involves much more. To introduce teens–and parents–to just how much is involved in being safe in the car, AAA developed www.TeenDriving.AAA.com, a Web site that helps parents and teens manage the complex coming-of-age process. It provides users with specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process–from preparing to drive through the learner’s permit and solo driving.
“The learning-to-drive process is intimidating, and following the steps it takes to gain a license can be daunting, but this site simplifies the process and walks users through each stage,” said Mike Right, vice president of AAA Public Affairs. The site, which was introduced last year, features AAA StartSmart, a series of online newsletters and webisodes based on the National Institutes of Health’s Checkpoints program, which has been scientifically shown to help parents improve teen driver safety. Some of the topics covered focus on nighttime driving, distracted driving and alcohol.
Parents will find details about their state’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, selecting a driving school and choosing the right vehicle for their teens. And they can download a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that will help teens understand what is expected of them behind the wheel.
“Parent involvement is critical in developing safe teen drivers, and this site can really empower parents, as well as their sons and daughters, as they embark on this new journey together,” Right said.