Compared to all other age groups, teenagers are the highest risk drivers. The major reason for the high number of accidents is teens lack experience behind the wheel. This is especially true during the first year of having their license.
To help them gain experience and to reduce risk, there are different strategies. The main ones are graduated licensing programs and parent involvement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one of the things that has been helpful in reducing the number of accidents involving teen drivers is Graduated Driver Licensing systems. Each state requires teenage drivers to comply with a GDL program, which consists of three different stages.
The first stage is obtaining a learner’s permit. This allows teenagers to drive only when an adult is in the car with them. The second stage is a provisional, or intermediate, license. The purpose of this stage is to limit higher risk conditions while allowing the teenager to operate a vehicle without supervision. Some restrictions during this stage include no driving at night and no driving with other passengers in the car.
The final stage is an unrestricted license. This stage allows teenagers to drive unsupervised and without limitations.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses another effective method is to involve parents. Along with enforcing the rules of GDL, parents should ride with teenagers and guide them through higher risk situations to help them gain experience. They should also educate teens about the dangers of driving under the influence, not wearing a seat belt and not obeying speed limits.
Teenagers see their parents as role models. When driving, parents should follow all traffic laws and refrain from distracting behavior.