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Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for adolescents. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, three out of five accidental deaths for teens ages 16-20 are due to motor vehicle crashes. Teen drivers are four times more likely than adult drivers to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
One of the most effective strategies aimed at teen drivers is Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. These laws allow new drivers time to gain critical driving skills and experience. In Michigan, teen drivers under age 18 must complete two segments of driver education instruction and meet the requirements for three GDL levels.
For more information on GDL, review Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing: A Guide for Parents
For more information on driver education courses, visit the Michigan Department of State
What Parents Can Do to Keep Teen Drivers Safe
Parents often have more influence over teens than they imagine. Teens that say their parents set rules and support them are half as likely to crash as teens who say their parents are not as involved.
- Supervise your teen's driving.
- Set driving rules and limits by having a teen/parent contract.
- Talk to your teen about distracted driving. Michigan law bans texting while driving for all drivers and Kelsey's Law prohibits cell phone use for Level 1 and Level 2 license holders.
- Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Teens should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of being in a crash and offer protection in case they do crash. Avoid cars with performance images that might encourage speeding. Mid-size and large sedans are best.
- Lead by example. Follow the rules of the road. Always wear a seat belt. Don't talk on a cell phone or text while driving. Don't drive while under the influence of alcohol. Don't speed.
Visit the following Web sites for more information on teen driving:
Driving Skills For Life
Keys2Drive-AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia