UK HealthCare

It's Teen Driver Safety Month. Is Your Teen Ready to Drive?

The University of Kentucky Public Relations & Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Sherri Hannan, Coordinator for Safe Kids Fayette County.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2019) — Is your teen ready to drive? Kids begin learning how to drive as soon as their safety seat turns forward facing. Parents are the key to teaching teens good driving habits. Be sure you are setting a good example of safe driving behavior ­– they are watching and learning.

Once your child is ready to get behind the wheel, make sure they have the decision-making maturity and skills to make responsible driving choices. Key points to consider discussing with your unsupervised teen driver should include:

  • Where and when your teen can drive? Are there certain high traffic, curvy or dangerous roads you’d prefer them to not drive until they gain additional experience? 
  • Night time driving is riskier than daytime driving. Spend time with your new driver during these hours to make sure they can safely operate the vehicle as well under at night. Agree to nighttime driving limits.
  • Other teens in the car increase the risk of a crash. Follow graduated driver licensing laws that only allow one unrelated person in the vehicle with an intermediate license.
  • Teens have more weather-related crashes. New, inexperienced drivers need supervision while driving in all types of weather conditions. Make sure they are prepared and you feel they are capable to drive by themselves when weather turns bad.
  • Speeding increases risk and severity of crash. Receiving a ticket leads to fines, points on license and an increase in insurance rates but worst of all the potential of being in an accident.
  • It's just not against the law to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol but impairs judgment that can lead to crashes with bad outcomes.
  • Young drivers are least likely to wear a seat belt and the most likely to be in a crash. Make it a requirement to always drive and ride buckled up.

It's important to have a parent-teen driving agreement. Parents can assess if the teen has improved skills, enough practice and obeys all the traffic rules in order to earn further driving privileges. To help manage your teen driver use the Kentucky Checkpoints program.

Parents are far from done once their child passes their road test; they need to be involved and continue to monitor their teen's driving habits. Teach and correct so teens can develop safe, responsible driving habits. If additional help is needed, consider enrolling them in a driver’s education program or a local driving school. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility.

To find out more information about Kentucky’s Graduated Drivers’ License Law visit on the web.