Teen Driving Safety Focus in New Jersey
How common are car accidents involving teenage drivers? According to a recent article in the Press of Atlantic City, approximately six fatal teen traffic collisions occur each day, making auto accidents the leading cause of death for drivers aged 19 and under. Given the seriousness of teen driving accidents, several driving safety and education programs in New Jersey have targeted teens and their families to help limit the number of crashes on the roads.
The “Share the Keys” program for example, according to a state pamphlet, is “a research-based, data-driven orientation designed to reduce teen driver crash risks by increasing parental involvement.” According to the Press of Atlantic City article, as a result of this program, between 2010 to 2014, the rate of teen car accidents dropped by more than 25% due in part to parental involvement. Indeed, the total number of collisions fell from nearly 54,000 to just over 40,000.
New Jersey’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws are among the most “stringent in the United States” when it comes to limiting teens’ time behind the wheel until they have become experienced drivers, and the state believes that parent involvement in the GDL program is essential to its success.
As the pamphlet explains, it is not only important for parents to ensure that their teens abide by the law. Indeed, certain parenting styles appear to have various impacts when it comes to teen driving safety. For instance, the pamphlet notes that “teens whose parents set rules and pay attention to their driving activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to be involved in a crash.”
Teen Driving Statistics and Collision Prevention
In addition to laws like those in place in New Jersey, what else can we do to help prevent serious and fatal teen car accidents? According to a report from the National Safety Council (NSC), “half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school.” The NSC emphasizes that there are numerous steps that families and communities can take to help avoid deadly teen car crashes, including but not limited to:
- Limiting the number of passengers your teen driver can have in the car;
- Limiting nighttime driving for your teen;
- Ensuring that your child does not use a cell phone while in the car;
- Teaching your teen driver about weather and roadway conditions;
- Teaching your teen driver about safe following distances; and
- Helping your child to learn to avoid aggressive driving.
As the NSC emphasizes, parents should look to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” rules, in which the following are cited:
- No driving/riding without your seat belt;
- No cell phone use;
- No speeding;
- No alcohol use; and
- No additional passengers.
Let’s keep our teens safe! Take some time to discuss the above safety tips with your child.