MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- For most teens, receiving their driver’s license is an exciting and sought after experience. However, for concerned parents it can be a hair-raising and anxiety packed next few years.
According to teendriversource.org, teens are four times more likely to get into an accident than older drivers, and the leading cause of death among teens is motor-vehicle accidents.
This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. It promotes safe driving and passenger behavior, and provides information for parents to teach their children safe driving practices.
“The most important thing that parents can do is teach their teens the basics,” said John M. Ruth the safety and occupational health specialist for the air station. “Every time you’re in the car with your kids, take the time to teach them something new.”
A step parents can take to keep their teens safe is leading by example, turning every car ride into a learning experience, and pointing out how they handled a driving situation is essential to their development. Parents are typically their child’s prime influence regarding driving practices.
“Practice, practice, and practice until it becomes almost automatic,” said Chief Warrant Officer James H. Von Plueren, father of two teenage children and the telephone communications officer of G-6. “Experience behind the wheel is the best thing for newer drivers.”
Allowing time for a teen to practice while a parent supervises is another great way to prepare them for the road. The amount of experience junior operators have behind the wheel is a key factor in their safety once they begin driving on their own.
According to teendriversource.org, 89 percent of teens have reported seeing other teen drivers on cell phones, 71 percent have seen teen drivers driving upset on the phone, and 53 percent have seen others using other hand held devices such as music devices or texting while driving.
“While driving with someone else in their car, teens need to understand that they are not just responsible for themselves,” said Von Plueren. “Drivers have the lives of their passengers in their hands.”