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National Safety Council poll: Majority of parents understand greatest risks facing teen drivers

Parents limit passengers and nighttime driving, favor limitations for all new drivers under 21

Itasca, IL, Oct. 20, 2014 – Today the National Safety Council, in observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week, released results of a public opinion survey showing many parents understand, and take steps to help reduce, the greatest risks facing teen drivers. Fifty-seven percent of parents do not allow teens to drive with friends, 55 percent do not allow teens to drive after 10 p.m. and 64 percent support extending teen driving laws to cover all new drivers younger than 21.

“The most dangerous period for a new driver is during the first year or first thousand miles, but only 54 percent of teens get their license before their 18th birthday,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The risk factors remain the same whether you are 16 or 19, so we are thrilled to see parents support extending the most effective interventions to our most inexperienced drivers.”

While 57 percent of parents recognize the risk of riding with friends, 60 percent still allow their teens to drive with younger siblings. A single young passenger – even a sibling – increases a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent.1 More than half of parents do not allow their teens to drive past 10 p.m. However, nighttime driving, regardless of the hour, is risky because of reduced visibility. Parents should ride with their teen after sunset so they can gain driving experience during this risky time of day.

Most states’ teen driving laws do not apply to drivers older than 18, and yet only 54 percent of teens are licensed before then.2 The majority of parents support extending these laws to all new drivers younger than 21 because the laws include the life-saving passenger and nighttime driving provisions.

No state has laws that best protect teen drivers. Parents and teens can agree on household rules that go beyond state laws by signing a New Driver Deal. A template is available at DriveitHOME.org – an NSC online resource developed for parents by parents to help keep their teen drivers safe. Parents can also get involved in grassroots efforts, such as state Teen Safe Driving Coalitions managed by NSC and The Allstate Foundation. To find a Coalition, visit nsc.org/teensafedriving.

About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

Contact: Kathy Lane
NSC Communications Director
(630) 775-2307
kathy.lane@nsc.org

1Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
2The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

National Safety Council Mission

The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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