When calculated on a per-mile basis, teens are four times more likely to crash than older drivers. Worse yet, car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens. On a more positive note, many organizations have created free online resources to help teens drive safer. Here are my picks.
"Talking to your teen about the rules of the road isn't necessarily easy, but it is important." To guide your conversation, Allstate has create a Parent-Teen Driving Contract template. To create yours online, fill in your own rules and consequences, discuss it with your teen, print it out, and hang it on your refrigerator door. For advice on any of the eight contract topics (such as Speeding and Tickets or Number of Passengers) click "Get Advice" and see what other parents and teens have agreed upon. If you'd rather not use the online application, you can also simply download a printable contract and use a pen to fill in the blanks.
"According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 6,000 teens lost their lives in 2006 due to vehicle crashes. Driving Skills for Life aims to reduce the number of teen vehicle crashes in America." Sponsored by Ford, the learning module covers road hazards, vehicle handling, space management and speed management with videos, quizzes, and games. Teacher materials include a Leader's Guide with discussion questions and a Tool Kit with ideas for producing a high school driving safety day or event.
Impact Teen Drivers5 stars
Founded in 2007 by California firefighters and teachers, Impact Teen Drivers aims to spread driver safety through education. "And of the 5,500 teenagers killed in car accidents last year; 75 percent of the accidents had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Text messaging, eating, applying makeup and adjusting music are among the main killers." Best clicks are the photo galleries (most are pretty graphic), tips for teen (16 Tips You Already Knew), and the Probability Wheel (which will show you how much certain driving behaviors increase the probability of an accident.)
Ride Like a Friend4 stars
"Driving with a loud clueless passenger isn't just annoying - it can be deadly. Distractions cause crashes, and nothing kills more teens than crashes." Dedicated to helping teens set safe rules for driving and reinforcing the message that passengers increase the possibility of an accident, this site is sponsored by State Farm Insurance, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Unfortunately their Facebook app is no longer available, but the Rule-Setting Tool is very cool.
By Barbara J. Feldman October 28,2008