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Safe driving for teens

Driving and teenagers; Teens and safe driving; Automobile safety - teenage drivers

Learning to drive is an exciting time for teenagers and their parents. It opens up many options for a young person, but it also carries risks. Young people between ages 15 and 24 have the highest rate of auto-related deaths. The rate is the highest for young men.

Parents and teens should be aware of problem areas and take steps to avoid hazards.

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Teens also need to commit to being safe and responsible drivers in order to improve the odds in their favor.

Drivers and passengers should use automobile safety features at all times. These include seat belts, shoulder straps, and headrests. Only drive cars that have air bags, padded dashes, safety glass, collapsible steering columns, and anti-lock brakes.

Auto accidents are also a leading cause of death in infants and children. Infants and young children should be properly buckled into a child safety seat of the right size that is correctly installed in the vehicle.


Distractions are a problem for all drivers. Do not use cell phones for talking, texting, or email when you are driving.

Other tips include:

Driving with friends can lead to accidents.

Teenage-related driving deaths occur more often in certain conditions.


Parents should talk with their teens about "household driving rules."

Parents can do the following to help prevent teens from drinking and driving:

Some children continue to mix driving and drinking. In many states, the parent must sign for a teenager under 18 to get a driver's license. At any time before the 18th birthday a parent can refuse responsibility and the state will take the license.


Durbin DR, Mirman JH, Curry AE, et al. Driving errors of learner teens: frequency, nature and their association with practice. Accid Anal Prev. 2014;72:433-439. PMID: 25150523

Li L, Shults RA, Andridge RR, Yellman MA, et al. Texting/Emailing While Driving Among High School Students in 35 States, United States, 2015. J Adolesc Health. 2018;63(6):701-708. PMID: 30139720

Peek-Asa C, Cavanaugh JE, Yang J, Chande V, Young T, Ramirez M. Steering teens safe: a randomized trial of a parent-based intervention to improve safe teen driving. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:777. PMID: 25082132

Shults RA, Olsen E, Williams AF; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Driving among high school students - United States, 2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(12):313-317. PMID: 25837240


Review Date: 5/17/2019  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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