Tips for Parents of New Drivers
An estimated 38,000 high school seniors in the U.S. reported in 2001 that they crashed while driving under the influence of marijuana and 46,000 reported that they crashed while impaired by alcohol. Here are two things parents can do to keep their teen safe on the road:
Tip 1: Know the Facts - Marijuana is more harmful than many parents and teens think. Take time to learn the facts about marijuana and talk to your teen about its harmful health, social, learning and mental effects on young users.
Tip 2: Set Rules - Let your child know that marijuana use is unacceptable. Two-thirds of teens say that upsetting their parents or losing the respect of family and friends is one of the main reasons they don't smoke marijuana or use other drugs. Also, set limits on driving, especially in high-risk conditions such as at night, with other teen passengers and in poor weather conditions. Limit your teen from riding with other new drivers, and make sure they never get in a car with a teen driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
Dr. Allen Robinson, CEO/ADTSEA (American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association) says: The per driver crash rate of newly licensed 16 year olds is ten times that of mature adults and drops by 2/3rds in the first 500 miles of driving. The rapid decline evidences the role of experience, which is apparent in the causes of crashes among newly licenses teenagers. Research shows that the overwhelming majority of these crashes are the results of simple mistakes, including inattention, following too closely, and poor visual search.
Your influence as a parent-
Researchers have long known that parenting style (your approach to raising your teen) can greatly influence whether your child avoids or takes part in risky behaviors, such as smoking or drinking. Now results from the National Young Driver Survey (NYDS) show that your parenting approach may even save your teen’s life by lowering crash risk. Teens who described their parents as authoritative (highly supportive and involved, set rules, and monitor) reported fewer risky driving behaviors and half the crash risk in the last year as teens who described their parents as less involved.
Being involved will make a difference.