Helping teens learn to drive safely is one of the most important missions we have at AAA. Why? Because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.
At AAA, our commitment to helping teens drive safely dates to the 1940s. That was the start of our successful driver training program, which continues today. Through research and education, we’ve developed classroom curriculum and in-car techniques to help prepare teens for a lifetime of safe driving.
In 2016, there were 3,500 fatalities in crashes involving young drivers. There were more than 200 just in the six states served by AAA Northeast. Crash statistics report the numbers, but they don’t tell the heartbreaking stories of the individuals or their families. Sadly, too many of us have faced the horror of losing a loved one in a traffic accident.
Many accidents involving teens can be directly linked to distraction. In fact, we know that distraction plays a role in nearly 6 out of 10 teen crashes. The primary distractions include teen drivers talking to other passengers in the vehicle or interacting with their smartphones. Teens are also not buckling up enough: In 2015, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt. And speed is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver.
Parents can play a powerful role by modeling good driving behaviors. It’s also important for parents to help teach teens to drive. And all through their driving years, parents can be effective in-car coaches, set positive examples and manage their teen’s driving privileges.
AAA has been a leader in advocating for increased parental involvement in the teen driving process. Because of our efforts, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have laws requiring parents to take driving classes before their teens receive a permit. Through the work of our AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, we help parents understand the risk factors for teen drivers. We continue to work every day, in each of our states, to eliminate fatalities.
We can make a difference together. To learn how to prepare teens for the road ahead, visit our teen driving website, TeenDriving.AAA.com.