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Talk to Your Teen About the “5 to Drive”

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds in the US. In fact, in 2013, there were 2,614 teen (15-19 year old) passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured.

Yet, a recent survey shows that only 25% of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving.  You’ve guided your teen this far, but your job’s not done. Driving is a new chapter, a step toward independence for many teens. Surveys show that teens whose parents impose driving restrictions typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes.

You are the biggest influence on your teen’s safety behind the wheel. Take the time to talk with your kids about the the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.



Even if you think they don't hear you, they do. Remember, the "5 to Drive" – Set the Rules Before They Hit the Road.

  1. No Drinking and Driving.
    Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.
    Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast.
  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
    Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road. It’s equally important to model safe driving habits for your teen—you shouldn’t text and drive either.

  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.

    Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.
    With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash goes up. Check your State’s GDL law before your teen takes to the road; it may prohibit any passengers.


How you can start talking with your teen about the “5 To Drive”

  • Start the conversation with your teen during Teen Driver Safety Week, but continue the conversation every day.
  • Even if it seems like they’re tuning you out, keep telling them. They’re listening, and these powerful messages will get through.
  • Get creative! Talking is just one way to discuss safe driving. You can write your teen a letter, leave sticky notes in the car, or use social media to get your message across.
  • Get it in writing. Create a parent-teen driving contract that outlines the rules and consequences for your teen driver. Hang the signed contract in a visible place.

For more information about the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents or read Safer Teens, Safer Roads with the ‘5 to Drive'

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 22:31