May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, and a new study by the U.S. National Safety Council reveals that three out of four parents (76%) are unaware that the automobile is more dangerous than drug and alcohol use for their teenagers.
In fact, here are five things parents should know before handing them the keys:
- Car crashes are the No.1 killer of teens.
- Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced, not because they take more risks behind the wheel.
- Other teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver's fatal crash risk 44%. Two passengers double the fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruple the crash risk.
- Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight.
- More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt.
“Parents tend to worry most about the things we hear in the news, like cyber bullying and drug and alcohol use, but car crashes are the number one killer of teens,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Ensuring our most vulnerable drivers safely gain the experience they need will result in more teens attending prom and graduation, not their friends' funerals.”
The National Safety Council encourages parents with teenagers to become effective driving coaches and set an example behind the wheel. Buckling on every trip and not using their cell phones while driving are two excellent tips.