The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
According to NHTSA, more than 5,000 people die every year in teen-related car crashes, and teens are not the only ones dying. Teen drivers’ high crash risk affects their passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. Keeping teens safe on the roads is the responsibility of everyone: parents, teens, friends, neighbors, educators, legislators and organizations.
What Parents Can Do
Parents should go beyond their state’s GDL laws and what is taught in driver’s education programs.
- Know their state’s current GDL laws and review them often with their teen
- Prohibit teens from using a cell phone while driving
- Find out if their teen’s friends adhere to the state’s GDL policies and if their parents enforce GDL
- Require teens be off the roads when it gets dark. Most fatal teen crashes occur after 9 p.m.
- Be a role model behind the wheel. Parents never should talk on a cell phone while driving, speed or drive unbelted
- Continue to ride with their teen
What Teens Can Do
Teens play a critical role in their own development as good drivers.
- Refrain from riding with friends and classmates so as not to be a distraction, regardless of the state’s passenger law
- Encourage teachers and driver’s education instructors to emphasize the importance and effectiveness of GDL
- Join a teen-led organization such as SADD or National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS)
- Join California’s Teen Safe Driving Coalition
- Adhere to the state’s GDL laws every time they drive
What Businesses Can Do
Corporations and local business men and women are not immune to the effects of teen driving.
Business owners should:
Join the California Teen Safe Driving Coalition
Provide financial or in-kind support to the coalition and local teen safety organizations
Know the state’s GDL laws and enforce them when a teen appears to be breaking one
What Legislators Can Do
GDL laws vary state to state. The National Safety Council recommends seven elements for best-practice GDL, and no state has all seven in place. More can be done.
- Propose bills to strengthen existing teen driving laws
- Support bills that would strengthen existing GDL laws
- Visit schools and driver’s education classes to speak about the importance of teen driver safety
What Educators Can Do
Educators are role models for teens in and out of the classroom and should set a positive example.
- Join the California Teen Safe Driving Coalition
- Volunteer to oversee a teen-led safety group at the school
- Help coordinate activities for National Youth Traffic Safety Month in May, or register their school for The Allstate Foundation-funded Act Out Loud ® contest.