When parents get involved, teens less likely to drive drunk

Graduated licensing laws exist at some level in pretty much every state, including Illinois. Some states include less restrictive guidelines such as obtaining a permit and then driving on a temporary license for a year prior to obtaining an adult license. In other cases, added limitations such as driving curfews and passenger maximums may be included in the laws.

Even where laws are strict, the Governors Highway Safety Association says that a parent’s assistance can help reduce a child’s risk of causing an accident. This advice and request came this week amidst National Teen Driver Safety Week, which ends on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The GHSA gave some pretty solid statistics to back up this request. One of these statistics was that when parents get involved teen drivers are 30 percent less likely to talk or text on a cellphone.

Or how about when parents set driving restrictions of their own, children are 50 percent more likely to buckle that seatbelt? The best one? When parents put limitations in place, teen drivers are 71 percent less likely to drink and drive.

What do these extra limitations consist of? The GHSA simply asks that parents try to put similar limitations to those of the stricter graduated licensing laws. For example, make a rule that a teen must have the car home at a certain time, must limit passengers to a specific number or put the cellphone in the glove compartment while driving.

The most important part of these rules is to enforce them. One suggestion is to draft a vehicle agreement and have both parents and teen sign it. Should the teen break the rules, enforce the contract with whatever punishment was set out in the agreement. This, said the GHSA, would help reduce car accidents and keep everyone safer.

Source: Forbes, “Teens With Parents Who Set Driving Rules 71% Less Likely To Drive Drunk, GHSA Says,” Tanya Mohn, Oct. 22, 2013