It's spring, and every teen wants to hit the open road, right?
As a parent, the fact that your teen is now behind the wheel probably makes you a little nervous. Whatever happened to that toddler who asked you to tie his shoes? Whatever happened to that third grader who asked for your help with her homework? Whatever happened to that 7th grader you used to watch at soccer practice?
Your teen is now entering a world of responsibilities, a world that needs YOUR influence! It's important that you guide your teen throughout their entire life, especially when they are learning how to drive safely.
Under YOUR Influence has three great links that can help you in your education efforts
For more information to help you keep YOUR teen under YOUR influence, check out the following sections of the Under YOUR Influence Web site:
Getting a driver’s license is a major milestone in one’s life. A driver license is an avenue to a whole new adventure. But, it brings with it a whole new world of responsibility. Safe driving is serious business in Tennessee.
Winning school: Ezell Harding Christian School, Driving Skills for Life contest
Teen drivers have higher rates of fatal crash involvement than any other age group. Studies show young drivers are more likely to be involved in work zone crashes than others, as they are more likely to take risks, be distracted, or be nervous while driving.
Between the Barrels is a safety education program offered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation that is geared toward sophomores and juniors in high school; students who are just learning or thinking about learning to drive. The program includes a high-tech, interactive presentation provided to Tennessee high schools at no cost in order to reduce the chances of young drivers being involved in dangerous work zone accidents.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tennessee had the 8th most teen driver deaths between 2003 and 2007. Since 2003 more than 227,000 of Tennessee’s 16-19 year old drivers have been involved in a crash. More alarming, 914 of those were fatal crashes resulting in 971 deaths.
It’s a fact that teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. A major culprit of these crashes and fatalities are inexperience and driver distractions.
Drivers face challenges on the road every day. And, those who are new to driving have a responsibility to remain alert, obey the rules of the road and avoid distractions. It’s truly a matter of life and death.
In an effort to reduce teen crashes and help new drivers become comfortable behind the wheel, Tennessee follows a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.
Seat belts really do save lives. They are your best defense in a crash. That’s why in Tennessee wearing a seat belt is mandatory for all drivers and passengers.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is active in the Click It or Ticket enforcement initiative. Click It or Ticket is a high-visibility education and enforcement campaign of Tennessee’s seat belt laws. Click It or Ticket initiatives are intended to reduce serious injuries and fatalities on Tennessee’s roadways by reminding everyone to buckle up.
Despite the fact that it is unlawful for teens to purchase alcohol, they face a far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population. In Tennessee from 2003 – 2008, more than 4,000 teen drivers used alcohol prior to a crash and more than 15% of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Too many young drivers still don’t understand that impaired driving – operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any drug – has many consequences. The most tragic being the death of themselves or one of their passengers. But, violators of underage drinking laws often face a trip to jail, the loss of the driver’s license, and dozens of other expenses including fines, attorney fees and court costs. Plus, there is the added costs attributed to embarrassment, humiliation, and potential loss related to academic eligibility, college acceptance, and scholarship awards among many others.
Over 14,000 teenage drivers ranging in age from 16 to 19 were involved in speeding-related crashes across the state from 2003 through 2008. Speeding, whether it’s driving above the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, can put not only you, but others around you, in an extremely dangerous situation.
For a driver, speeding can reduce one’s ability to negotiate curves or maneuver around obstacles, limit your reaction time, and increase the risk of crashes and injuries. All drivers need to remember there is a reason for posted speed limits. The roadways are dangerous and speed limits are designed to protect everyone – drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Making a call on your cell phone, accessing voicemail, texting, putting on makeup, playing with an iPod, or changing a CD can distract any driver, but for those new to driving, these actions can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes.
It’s against the law for teens in Tennessee to talk on a cell phone when driving. But that shouldn’t be the only precaution against distracted driving that teens should take. A driver’s focus should be on the road at all times.
Driver education is another method for improving the driving skills for inexperienced drivers and reducing crashes and injuries. Not only does driver education include behind-the-wheel experience, it also includes knowing the rules of the road and practicing safe driving habits.
Several school districts in Tennessee offer driver training to students and many driving schools throughout the state provide private instruction. Additionally, you can test your knowledge of Tennessee’s rules of the road by taking the department’s online practice tests.