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Prevent Teen Car Accidents

With graduation and prom around the corner, your teenager may be more focused on talking to friends than watching the road when driving. Learn what steps you can take to help a novice become a safe and capable driver with the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.

Keep Teen Drivers Safer

Teen drivers are at heightened risk of getting into an accident. But there are things parents can do to reduce those chances.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests:

  • Making sure your teen gets plenty of initial driving time with an experienced adult in the car.
  • Barring your child from taking other teens as passengers for at least the first six months.
  • Prohibiting teens from driving past 10 p.m. for the first six months. But it’s a good idea to practice night driving with an adult in the car.
  • Making sure your child always wears a seat belt.
  • Prohibiting your teen from using a cell phone while behind the wheel, driving while drowsy and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Making sure your teen always obeys the speed limit, and never drives recklessly.

Some E-cigarettes Contain Enough Alcohol to Affect Motor Skills

The electronic cigarette consists of a battery on the bottom and a bottom-coiled tank on top. Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity, but concern still lingers nationwide about their safety. e-Cig culture includes "vaping" meet-ups and an array of build-your-own products. (Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1141788

Some types of e-cigarettes contain enough alcohol to affect motor skills, a new study concludes. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquids, which may contain alcohol and other chemicals.

Yale University researchers tested people who used two commercially available e-cigarettes with either high or low amounts of alcohol. Neither group said they felt differently after they inhaled the vapor. But those who used e-cigarettes with high alcohol levels performed more poorly on psychomotor tests. In some cases, they had detectable levels of alcohol in their urine.

About three-quarters of the commercial e-cigarette liquids tested contained less than 1 percent alcohol. Some e-cigarette users create their own liquids with high alcohol content, the researchers note in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Almost nothing is known about the prevalence of using e-liquids that contain alcohol, they said.

Lead researcher Dr. Mehmet Sofuoglu said the findings are worrisome, especially in light of a recent government report that found e-cigarette use among teens tripled from 2013 to 2014. An estimated 13 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2014—compared with 9 percent who smoked traditional cigarettes.

Parents' Role in Preventing Texting While Driving

texting drivingDistracted driving has become such a safety threat that in the fall, the U.S. Department of Transportation called a summit to address the issue. One of the results was a DOT promise to work with Congress to:

  • Permanently restrict the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in rail operations
  • Ban text messaging and restrict use of cell phones by truck drivers and interstate bus operators
  • Ban school bus drivers convicted of texting while driving from holding commercial driver’s licenses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group.

Parents can encourage driving safety by making cell phone use practical.  Some tips on safe driving and cell phone use:

  • When you know your teen might be driving, don’t just call to visit.
  • Before starting the content of a call, ask the teen if she is driving. If she is, tell her to pull over and call her back.
  • If you need to talk to your teen, make the call short. Don’t have emotional conversations or make critical decisions over the cell phone.

Tools are available for parents to promote safe driving. The Students Against Destructive Decisions group offers a safe driving contract that parents and their children can sign to encourage safe driving.

Parents are encouraged to perform a “commentary drive,” an exercise with their teen drivers to reinforce the dangers of texting while driving. The parent should drive with the teen in the passenger seat and take an unfamiliar route. The teen should start texting and, at the same time, describe two things:

  • what he or she sees
  • how he or she would respond.

Parents should pay attention to the potential hazards the child is missing—a hidden driveway, children playing near the street, etc.—and point them out to the teen.

Parent groups can encourage driving safety by linking parents with these tips and safe driving tools.  These groups can also advocate for “intolerance” for texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors exhibited by school bus drivers or other employees on school business.

For more information, visit the National PTA’s website

 

Parents’ Role in Preventing Texting While Driving

texting drivingDistracted driving has become such a safety threat that in the fall, the U.S. Department of Transportation called a summit to address the issue. One of the results was a DOT promise to work with Congress to:

  • Permanently restrict the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in rail operations
  • Ban text messaging and restrict use of cell phones by truck drivers and interstate bus operators
  • Ban school bus drivers convicted of texting while driving from holding commercial driver’s licenses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group.

Parents can encourage driving safety by making cell phone use practical.  Some tips on safe driving and cell phone use:

  • When you know your teen might be driving, don’t just call to visit.
  • Before starting the content of a call, ask the teen if she is driving. If she is, tell her to pull over and call her back.
  • If you need to talk to your teen, make the call short. Don’t have emotional conversations or make critical decisions over the cell phone.

Tools are available for parents to promote safe driving. The Students Against Destructive Decisions group offers a safe driving contract that parents and their children can sign to encourage safe driving.

Parents are encouraged to perform a “commentary drive,” an exercise with their teen drivers to reinforce the dangers of texting while driving. The parent should drive with the teen in the passenger seat and take an unfamiliar route. The teen should start texting and, at the same time, describe two things:

  • what he or she sees
  • how he or she would respond.

Parents should pay attention to the potential hazards the child is missing—a hidden driveway, children playing near the street, etc.—and point them out to the teen.

Parent groups can encourage driving safety by linking parents with these tips and safe driving tools.  These groups can also advocate for “intolerance” for texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors exhibited by school bus drivers or other employees on school business.

For more information, visit the National PTA’s website