AAA Survey Finds Parents Unaware of Crash Risk for Teens
BURNSVILLE, Minn. October 16, 2008: Many parents allow their children to ride in cars
under conditions they
know are dangerous. Furthermore, parents are unaware of the
risk of dying in a crash their young teens face well before they
driving age. These are two of many gaps between parental knowledge,
behavior and traffic safety facts revealed by a new AAA survey of
parents of children ages 12 to 17.
An overwhelming majority of parents of teen drivers correctly
the dangers of driving with multiple teen passengers (96 percent) or
even one teen passenger (65 percent), yet nearly half of parents say
their teen rides with another teen driver at least once a week. More
than one in seven parents of non-driving teens allow their child to
with another teen at least weekly, as do some (5 percent) parents of
junior high students.
“Even if their teen is not driving yet,
parents need to make driver safety a priority,”
said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs, AAA Minnesota/Iowa.
crash risks increase long before teens start driving by themselves,
parents should talk to their children about being a safe
AAA offers the following tips for parents:
If your teen is not yet
Your child is safest not riding with another teen driver. If your
must do so, it should be without additional teen passengers, not at
night, and with a responsible driver.
Help your teen recognize dangerous driving conditions, such as the
driver has been drinking, is tired, has multiple teen passengers,
is otherwise unsafe.
Talk about being a safe, responsible passenger. Your teen should
to wear a seat belt; refrain from distracting the driver by
playing loud music; and to speak up if the driver is being unsafe.
If your teen is learning to
Learn your state licensing process and compare it to what AAA and
other safety groups suggest. Most states fall short of what safety
experts consider best practice. New teen drivers need lots of
practice, measured in both hours of driving and months of having a
Learn about parent-teen driving agreements which can be found on
to help families establish rules and consequences for driving
teen gets behind the wheel.
Select a quality driving school. Professional instructors provide
comprehensive training that addresses mistakes new drivers are most
likely to make.
Talk about passenger safety. Safety tips for younger passengers
true for high school students riding with their driving
If your teen is allowed to
Review your state’s graduated driver
licensing process and suggestions by safety experts on night
and teen passenger limits.
Establish your parent-teen driving agreement. Agreements are meant
change with time, rewarding the teen with additional privileges for
Enforce rules about seat belts, drunk or distracted drivers. As
get older, they become increasingly mobile and their exposure to
dangerous conditions increases.
The complete survey including additional findings on parents’
knowledge, attitudes and behavior can be downloaded at