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How to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

How to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

When 23-year-old singer-songwriter James Taylor starred in the 1971 drag-racing movie Two Lane Blacktop his character loved speeding down the highway. But with age comes wisdom (sometimes) and by 1988, J.T. was crooning, “Never, ever die young.” Well, one of the best ways to make sure a young person’s life is long and happy is to get involved in teaching them safe driving techniques—and staying on them.

The CDC says every day, seven 16-19 year olds die from car accidents and 300,000 are treated in emergency rooms annually for driving-related injuries. A study found that letting your teen know you are using an in-vehicle data recorder to track what goes on while the car is moving, plus what researchers call “Vigilant Care,” drastically reduces teen recklessness.

Such data recorders range from $70 (the SafeDriver) to $15 a month for ones that stream live data (Escort Entourage PS). And vigilant care means your teen must let you know where he or she is via text messages (never ever sent while driving) and that family “driving chats” are held once a week to discuss key issues such as how to behave with friends in the car (a high-risk situation), ALWAYS wearing a seatbelt, and impaired driving—and there must be consequences if rules are broken.

The combination of technology and parental involvement surrounds teens with protection. As one teen in the study said, "I felt as though someone was sitting by my side, even though I was alone in the car."  

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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