Parents: Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety

Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in New York State. An involved parent can help cut a teen’s risk in half.
As a parent, you have the greatest influence over your teen’s driving. Take these steps to talk with your teen about driving safety:
•    Speak Early about Driving Safety: Speak about driving safety before your teen reaches the legal driving age. Teach them that wearing a seat belt is important and to be courteous of other drivers.
•    Be a Role Model: Follow the rules of the road at all times and set a good example for your teen. Remove all distractions while you are driving. If you text or talk on the phone while driving, your teen will likely do the same.
•    Talk about the Laws: Know and speak with your teen about New York State Graduated Drivers Licensing Laws (NYS GDL) and other laws for drivers. The GDL has a proven track record of saving the lives of teen drivers. It is a system that helps new drivers gain skills under low risk conditions. Use the NYS GDL to set driving limits for your teen.
•    Set and Enforce Driving Rules: Use a parent/teen driving agreement to set and enforce driving rules. If you don’t want them to drive in certain areas or areas far away from home, set and enforce those rules early on. Gradually introduce new privileges.
•    Tips to Speak so Your Teen Listens: The way you speak to your teen matters. Consider setting these ground rules when talking to your teen:
o    Speak to each other with respect
o    Take turns speaking and listening
o    Give each other our full attention when speaking
o    Take a break if one or both of us gets too upset to listen or talk calmly

Teach your kids the importance of safe driving and talk about the consequences involved with distracted driving.
Source: New York State Department of Health

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