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Teens. They give us a hard time, they give us gray hair... and they give us a reminder of our own younger days when we might not have had our $*!# together yet but were probably a little more fun. The teenage years aren't just hard for the parents, though, the young adults have a lot to deal with too. School, grades, sports and extracurriculars, peer pressure, relationships, hormones, temptations. Those are just a few of the things our teens are dealing with on a daily basis. If your teen drives, add driving to the list. Teens have a special place in the world - they're no longer children and deserve to be treated as young adults... but they haven't quite reached full maturity either and sometimes need a little guidance. As parents and loved ones of teens, we need to remember that we were once there too. Grace is so especially important during these years. But accountability is too.
Here are a few facts courtesy of the United States Department of Transportation:
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21, 2023. Hopefully safety is a conversation you're having with your teen regularly, but this week we can make an even bigger focus on this important topic. There are so many rules teens need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules are based on some of the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and the number of passengers.
Driving is a new and exciting step toward independence and adulthood. When parents or guardians discuss the importance of safe driving habits, it’s important to listen. The rules, advice, and lessons they share could prevent you from being in a crash. (Sometimes we parents get a little obnoxious with this stuff. Try to be patient with us just as we try to be patient with you. As a parent, I can confirm that it's not that we don't trust you, we just really care about your safety.)
Others may influence your driving choices, but it’s ultimately up to you to make the right decisions when you’re in a vehicle.
1. Don’t Drive Impaired.
Drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix, no matter your age. Marijuana slows a user’s reaction time and affects a driver’s ability to drive safely. Remember that drugs — illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter medications — can impair driving and have deadly consequences. If you do decide to use alcohol or drugs despite the laws and warnings of parents, do NOT get behind the wheel when you're impaired. Even if your parents don't want you drinking, they will be a lot more upset if you have a tragic accident than they will be if you call them and admit you need a ride home.
2. Keep Your Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, and Mind on the Task of Driving.
You should never text, dial, or use mobile apps while driving. Place your phone out of reach when you’re on the road. Turn on your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” or similar feature to help avoid the temptation of checking the call or text. Remember that distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving are all examples of dangerous distractions when driving. Loud music is distracting, too (yes it's fun to listen to loud music, but it's more fun to get where you're going safely). Always take your headphones off before driving. You need to be able to hear another vehicle’s horn, or the siren from an emergency vehicle, so you can safely move over and out of their path.
3. Buckle Up — Every Trip, Every Time.
It’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, in the front and back seats. Before you start your vehicle, make sure everyone is buckled.
4. Limit Passengers.
Depending on your age, the law (or your parents) might limit the number of passengers you're allowed to drive. While you might not love this, remember that with each passenger in the vehicle your risk of a deadly crash goes up.
5. Follow the Speed Limit.
Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing roadway circumstances. Obey the posted speed limit and remember: The faster you drive, the longer it will take to stop.
If parents or guardians are discussing safe driving habits, make sure you listen — don’t tune them out. Their reminders about these powerful messages will positively impact your driving habits. If you and your parent or guardian are going somewhere together, ask to drive. Listen to their advice and guidance. Make sure you are following the rules set by your parent or guardian even when nobody is watching you.
Remember, driving — for everyone, teen and adult alike — is a privilege, not a right. However, it is your parent or guardian’s right to take away your car keys if you’re not following the law and driving responsibly. Your safe driving can mean the difference between life and death — for you, your passengers, and other roadway users.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn more safe driving tips, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.
Our entire business is built around making the roads safer, not just for your family but for ours. We care about the safety of our loved ones, and we encourage you to be as safe as possible. Follow our blog for other driving related topics (not just interlock talk). Some of the topics like hoco might even interest our teen readers.
Parents, did you know that while most of our clients are required to get an ignition interlock because of a DWI or DUI, we do offer our products on a voluntary basis too? Our devices can be installed and used voluntarily as a way to prevent drunk driving. Contact us or call us at 1-866-447-8686 to find out how we can help keep your teen driver safe when it comes to alcohol. We have many locations across the state including these:
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