The close of the school year is fast approaching, indicating another graduation season filled with parties. It also marks the start of oncoming summer recreational activities. May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month–to help keep our teen drivers safe.
Licensed teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 are placed under certain restrictions while driving. Teens with a provisional driver’s license are restricted from driving late at night and are limited to a specific number of minor passengers who can be in their vehicle. Teens applying for their driver licenses are required to complete a state approved driver education course that includes driving and classroom work.
Parents should have early discussions with their teens about traffic safety. Sit down with them to have a focused conversation regarding safe driving before handing over the keys.
Establishing safe driving rules and instilling responsible driving, along with leading by example are key elements. Here are tips to keep your teen safe:
1. Set a curfew at night
Staying out late can lead to drowsy and inattentive driving, which could lead to an accident. Have your teen return home safely at a reasonable hour.
Hawaii law restricts teen drivers under 18 from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The two exceptions are if they are driving with a parent/guardian or when traveling to or from work/school with a signed statement.
2. Eyes on the road
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents among young drivers, with the use of cell phones and texting contributing to one in five motor vehicle crashes.
Remind your teen driver to refrain from using a cell phone (even in cars with Bluetooth capabilities) until they reach their destination.
3. Limit the number of friends in one vehicle
Too many young passengers in one car can lead to distracted driving and unsafe behaviors as a result of peer pressure.
Parents should be aware that Hawaii law restricts a teen driver with a provisional license from transporting more than one non-family passenger under the age of 18 unless he or she is accompanied by a parent or guardian with a valid driver’s license.
4. Buckle up
This simple and important action is one that drivers and passengers should always do. The odds of surviving a car crash increase by 45 percent when everyone is buckled up.
Remember that parents or guardians are the best role models for their children.