Tips to keep teen drivers safe

Consumer Reports News: October 09, 2012 01:08 PM

Car crashes are the number one killer of teens and even though there has been a 62 percent decline since 1975 in teen deaths, more can be done. Here are some ways to keep young drivers safe on the road.

Graduated driver licensing are laws that allow teens to gain driving experience in a controlled environment while working to get their full driver's license. Laws vary by state, but they generally mandate a minimum number of hours of supervised driving with parents and place restrictions on night driving and the number of passengers. Even if your state doesn't have a strict law, parents can set their own similar rules to follow. Wearing a seat belt, not drinking and driving or using the cell phone behind the wheel and reducing speed are other driving factors that can help teens become saver drivers.

Driver education is also important, and it involves more than just classroom lessons. Based on talking with industry experts and conducting our own program, we found that advanced driver training can help give young drivers more confidence in controlling a vehicle in case of an emergency. Such clinics are conducted in a safe, controlled environment and some are even offered for free. (For a list of teen driving schools, see our directory.)

Technology is also providing new tools for parents. For instance, Ford's MyKey allows parents to set speed limits, limit the radio volume, and prevent operation if the seat belt is not buckled in Ford vehicles. There is also a "Do Not Disturb" feature to prevent incoming calls and text messages from interrupting driving.

Check out our video below for more on how to protect teens behind the wheel. Also, see our October report on teens and older drivers.

Liza Barth

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