Texas fights distracted driving with new DL requirement

New Driver Course to Combat Distracted DrivingThe Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will implement a new driver’s education requirement Sept. 1 that mandates all drivers 18 and older participate in a one-hour driving course on distracted driving.

The Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD) course tackles one of the biggest safety issues today: the plethora of mobile devices, as well as bad driving habits, that facilitate distracted driving.

“Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis, and it should command our undivided attention,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This new component of the department’s distracted driving initiative uses research and compelling true stories to highlight the many risks facing drivers. This important program is designed to provide Texas drivers with critical information to help keep their focus on driving – and to ultimately save lives on Texas roadways.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused more than 3,400 fatal collisions in 2015 alone. NHTSA also estimates that about 660,000 drivers in the U.S. continue to use electronic devices while driving every day.

The ITYD course is the second offered by the state’s Impact Texas Drivers program, which was developed to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving. The first, launched in 2015, targeted only new 16- and 17-year-old drivers. A third course, Impact Texas Adult Drivers – specifically for drivers 25 and older – will be announced in 2018.

Follow Texas’ suit and train yourself to be a safe, distraction-free driver. eDriving’s One More Second® defensive driving course helps parent and teen drivers combat distracted driving. Sign up now!
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Teen blogger Jett Roberts talks 1-on-1 with a DriversEd.com driving instructor

DriversEd.com teen blogger Jett Roberts, 16, is a student at Bishop O’ Dowd High School in Oakland, California. Jett is working toward obtaining his drivers license and currently drives under adult supervision with a California permit.

Teen blogger Jett Roberts goes 1-on-1 with a DriversEd.com driving instructorAs you know, if you’ve finished the DriversEd.com online training, to qualify for your license you must have clocked in at least six hours of behind-the-wheel training with a qualified driving instructor. Mia Ha is one of the company’s many talented instructors, and we had the chance to meet and share some car time earlier this month. I thought she was a kind, helpful person, and as I got to talking to her, that thought did not falter! I enjoyed our lesson very much and I learned a lot from it! Here are some of her answers to questions I asked during our session:

How many students have you taught?

At this point Mia has lost count of how many students she has taught, since she’s been with DriversEd.com for roughly 7 years with hundreds of students each year!

How is driving different than when you learned?

The DMV had similar requirements of behind-the-wheel training for teenagers like they require now. The only difference that traffic was not as bad as it is now.

What defensive driving skills will make me a better driver?

Her biggest suggestion was to practice SIPDE which means: Scanning, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. One of the key aspects of SIPDE is to leave a safe “Space Cushion” when I drive, which means leaving several car lengths of space between you and the car in front of you, depending on how fast you are going. She also recommended scanning your surroundings whenever you are driving to make sure you are aware of what is happening around you. Checking your mirrors frequently will help with scanning. Lastly, Mia recommended that a driver should try to predict what the other drivers around you will do, which helps you make the best decision in sharing the road with them.

How will those defensive driving skills help me in my driving test?

These skills help you become a safer and defensive driver for the rest of your life rather than simply being able to pass your test.

What is your favorite food?

Everything, but most recently, tacos from Cholita Linda (yum! Gonna try them myself!)

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Mia loves to bake sweets and cook vegetarian meals because good food = fuel.

What is your favorite TV show and or movie?

Her Favorite T.V show is “The Big Bang Theory” and “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Recently, Mia recommended the documentary, “What the Health” on Netflix. “I think everyone should see this documentary and decide for their own,” she said.

What is your favorite holiday or favorite season in the year?

Christmas because this is the happiest time of the year!

What kind of music do you like?

Everything! Coldplay, Sam Smith, Adele, Arcade Fire

I enjoyed my time learning from Mia, and we had lots of fun as I talked to her throughout the lesson! I am becoming a better (and safer) driver with this excellent instruction, and I would recommend Mia to any of my friends.

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

 

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Classroom instruction vs. online drivers education: What you need to know

Classroom instruction vs. online drivers education: Which is right for your teen?With no set nationwide regulations for drivers education, it can be difficult locating the right resources to help you decide what type of drivers education is best for your teen. We’ve prepared a short guide to inform you about the country’s two most common types of drivers education courses: Classroom instruction and online drivers ed.

What is classroom instruction?
Classroom instruction requires students to attend classes in person for a specified number of hours depending on the state’s requirements. In-car instruction is often included as part of the curriculum. This is the traditional form of drivers education that is still offered today through school districts that have opted to include the training in their high school curriculum. However, not all school districts do, though a private driving school would serve as a good second option.

What is online drivers ed?
In online drivers ed, students read through material and complete course activities on their own time and their own device (computer, tablet, or in some cases, even a smartphone). This type of drivers ed has seen huge growth over the last 10 years due to the convenience of new technology.

What are the pros and cons of classroom instruction?
While classroom instruction can provide your child with a one-on-one learning experience within the comfort of their own school, not all regions have that opportunity. There is also a greater chance for interaction with instructors and peers in this setting. On the other hand, class schedules are predetermined. Also, in some states, missing a class may result in having to retake the course. And if your local high school does not offer drivers ed as part of its curriculum, the cost to enroll in a private driving school course can be expensive.

What are the pros and cons of online drivers ed?
Should your teen enroll in an online program, the opportunity for in-person interaction between students and instructors is extremely limited. However, if your teen is affected by distracting students or perhaps, having limited breaks, this isn’t an issue and an online program may work best. For families who place high priority on convenience, online drivers ed allows students to complete courses at their own pace, on the device of their choosing, and without having to drive to a school or dress up, even. Online driving programs must be approved by state agencies, just like classroom driving schools.

How can DriversEd.com help?
At DriversEd.com, teens can take advantage of the convenience of our online driving programs while also utilizing other services we offer, such as in-car driving lessons (in CA, GA and TX), as well as our vast library of practice tests that students may use as many times as necessary. Our interactive online drivers ed course is full of graphics and easy-to-understand content to ensure students retain knowledge. It teaches the basics of driving as well as defensive driving techniques to maximize the safety of novice drivers behind the wheel.

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

 

 

 

 

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Surprise! 4 unexpected driving situations and how to handle them

Even the safest drivers will encounter surprising situations on the road now and then. But newer drivers have encountered fewer surprises, which can make them scarier, not to mention more dangerous.

When driving, watch for deer or wildlife crossing signs, which are placed in areas where animals are known to congregate.During any surprise on the road, the most important thing to do is remain calm so that you can rationally think through the safest method of dealing with the situation. In addition to that, certain steps can be taken to manage specific scenarios.

Here are four of the more common surprises you might encounter and the safest way to handle them.

1. Low visibility from blinding sun, oncoming headlights, or fog
Impaired visibility while driving can occur in many situations. Don’t panic and slam on the breaks if you round a corner into glaring sun. Instead, break moderately to slow down to a safer speed and point your eyes down and to the right to follow the white line painted on the side of the road. That’s why it’s there. In foggy situations, turn off your brights and use your regular headlines instead. Bright light will reflect off the fog, further reducing visibility.

2. Rain, sleet, hail, or snow
You will definitely encounter inclement weather while driving, the type depending on where you live. In all situations where water, ice, or snow is covering the road, traction is reduced making sliding, skidding, or spinning out more likely. Drive at slower speeds during poor weather, even if other drivers aren’t.

Rainy conditions are the slickest during the first ½ hour of showers, as the dirt and oil sitting on the asphalt mixes with the water, creating a slick surface. Sleet and hail are inherently icy, so slow down or avoid driving altogether. If driving in the snow, try to stay in the tire treads of the car ahead of you and avoid changing lanes where crunchy snow can build up and reduce traction.

If visibility is poor, turn down music and open a window, which allows you to hear dangers like honking or skidding vehicles, and also helps reduce condensation inside your windshield, which can occur when exterior conditions are significantly cooler than inside your vehicle.

3. Skidding or hydroplaning from standing water or black ice
If you see standing water, slow down to a safer speed. Approaching standing water or black ice (ice that has frozen with no bubbles, making it invisible or appear black like the asphalt) at too high a speed will cause your tires to lose traction and skid across the surface.

If you do find yourself hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas and continue driving in a straight line (you won’t have the ability to steer anyway and turning the wheel could initiate an out-of-control spin). Do not apply the break, which will only encourage more sliding. Instead, slowly decelerate until you have regained traction.

4. Deer or other wildlife crossing the road
Hitting an animal while driving fast, especially a large one such as a deer, can be disastrous for both the animal and the driver. The first line of defense is to turn on your brights so that you can widen your view of the road. This will sometimes reflect off an animal’s eyes, making them more visible. Watch for deer or wildlife crossing signs, which are placed in areas where animals are known to congregate. Deer tend to travel in small herds, so if you see one near the road, assume others are nearby.

If you encounter an animal in the road, ideally, you should try to slow down and then veer around it. But if you only have time to pick one, slow down. Veering at too high a speed could result in hitting other objects like trees or parked cars, or flipping your vehicle. And hitting a deer head on at a high speed might send it crashing through your windshield. Overall, it’s smarter to reduce your speeds at night, particularly in rural areas.

Stay alert, stay calm, stay safe
Keeping general safety in mind is always smart, such as not speeding, wearing your seat belt, and minimizing distractions (no texting!). But when unexpected situations present themselves, keep a cool head and stay calm. You’ll stay safer and be better prepared for future surprises on the road.

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Drivers Ed Diary Entry No. 4: Staying focused through the final chapters

DriversEd.com Contributing Writer Alexis David has kept an ongoing diary for us as she takes our California online drivers ed course. Here’s her fourth entry.

California online drivers ed trainingAs my drivers ed experience comes to a close, I’ve been thinking ahead to the future driving lessons I’ll soon be able to take. Then, I’ll finally be able to drive! In the meantime, here are some of the major takeaways I learned in the final modules of the course.

“Driving Conditions and Emergencies” module
This module included what to do in any type of car failure. Drivers ed teaches you the steps to take for brake fails, tire blowout, steering wheel failure, a stuck accelerator, and overheating. In a tire blowout, the module instructs you to hold the steering wheel tight and drive straight, remove your foot from the accelerator and stop alongside the road, only applying the brakes when the car is almost stopped. This information helped me answer my examination test and my practice permit tests, which I’ll be talking about later.

I’ve also learned what to do when driving at night. I know driving at night is way more dangerous and accidents happens three to four times more at night than during the day. As a driver, you need to be more alert knowing that there can be vehicles in places you can’t see and that there can be tired drivers. When I grew up, the only lights on a car that I thought there were the brake lights in the back of a car and headlights in the front. But now there are low-beam lights, high-beam lights, fog lights and parking lights, each with their own specific purposes. In particular, I now know that low-beam lights are the best to use in fog or rain. In order to drive, you should know the parts of the car, how to control it, and expecting anything the road may present, and night driving tests all of these.

“Sharing the Road” module
Sharing the road doesn’t just include cars, it includes every vehicle and living thing; trucks, trains, LRVs, motorcycles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and animals. Sharing the road in the right way ensures other people’s safety and the driver’s safety. These are some basics and rules I’ve picked up from sharing the road.

Since trucks are bigger and have a heavier load than cars, they can cause wind drafts, they take a longer time to stop, and the drivers of trucks have bigger blind spots. Trains can cause a lot of damage with the speed they’re going. No vehicle should cross the tracks if they know their whole car can’t pass or if red lights are flashing. No one should turn in front of light rail vehicles, or LRVs. Motorcyclists can hide in a driver’s blind spots, so you should always check if there are any coming your way. Motorcyclists are typically allowed to lane split with you – something that’s really sharing the road – and it is preferred to follow with a four-second following distance. Bicycles are also small and can easily fit inside a driver’s blind spot. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way at any marked or unmarked crosswalk. By following these acts, any driver can keep the flow of traffic proper and harm free.

Nearing the end
Finally, after all 12 modules, I’m at the examination. The final test that’ll determine if I understood what the course taught me. I was incredibly nervous to take it, even if it does just give a certificate of my completed course. So, before taking the test, I took extra steps to study before I took it. No one is prohibiting me from taking notes, so that’s exactly what I did. I went back on each module to reread and took notes on main ideas laws that I need to remember. After taking notes to refresh myself when I was ready. So, I took the final examination, and found that I didn’t really have anything to worry about. I passed with a 93%! After seven months, I’ve finished the course, and I was insanely overjoyed to have finished it! It was like relief and content filled my whole body. A few days later, I got my certificate of completion.

During the course, I didn’t think it would take so long. However, there were other things I had to take care of like school, sports, and family events. I got confused on some modules and others were a simple, refreshing reading. If anyone is going to take the course soon, I suggest going at a pace that suits you so you can let the knowledge you’ve learned sink in, but don’t leave the course too long. I’m completely blissful and thankful to have had the online drivers ed to shape me into a soon-to-be driver.

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

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Know before you go: Who’s in my car?

The busy days of summer are here, putting more cars on the road and drivers behind the wheel. But before you get into the driver’s seat, ask yourself—who’s in my car?

It sounds funny, but it’s important to be aware of who you’re driving with. Not only are you battling more-congested-than-normal roadways this summer (see “Parents, it’s time to review your family’s summer driving habits,”) but adding passengers to the mix only ups the likelihood that you’ll get distracted and crash. And at this time of the year, that could prove to be a dangerous mistake.

Driving with passengers
Dealing with passengers is one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction for drivers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Compared to driving with no passengers, a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of death per mile driven increases 44% when carrying one passenger younger than 21. The more passengers, the greater the risk.

“We know that carrying young passengers is a huge risk, but it’s also a preventable one,” said Beth Mosher, Director of Public Affairs, AAA Chicago. “These findings should send a clear message to families that parents can make their teens safer immediately by refusing to allow them to get in the car with other young people, whether they’re behind the wheel or in the passenger seat.”

GDL system
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, which institutes a set of restrictions to gradually build up driving experience under lower-risk conditions in young drivers. Several states, such as California and Indiana, prohibit young drivers with intermediate licenses from driving with peer passengers, but other states, like Florida and Iowa, have no legislation at all. While GDL laws can target the problem of distracted driving, not all states have implemented them to do so.

State by state GDL laws

This map by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows how many young passengers may be carried by an intermediate license holder in each state.

Passengers are YOUR responsibility
When you’re driving, your passengers’ safety is your responsibility. They are relying on you to get them to their destination safely. This means you have an obligation to drive with care – and take steps to keep passengers safe. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat car occupants by 45%, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures show that more than 27 million people don’t buckle up. Enforce a rule – if they’re in your car, they wear a belt!
  • Children 12 and under are safest when seated in the back seat. Young children must be correctly secured in an appropriate, fitted car seat, and the National Safety Council says child restraint systems should go beyond state requirements. Check that your child’s car seat hasn’t expired; the typical use life of a car seat is six to eight years. And check for recalls, too.
  • Occupy small children during the drive with entertaining items such as books, quiet toys, or a DVD player with headphones. If you need to tend to them, stop at a safe place first.
  • Properly restrain your pet when driving with one in your car. Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your chance of being in a crash. AAA found that 18% of surveyed dog owners admitted to reaching into the back seat to interact with their dog, and 17% said they’ve allowed their dog to sit in their lap – all huge distractions.

DriversEd.com offers these resources to help you drive safely with various passengers:

 

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3 Things I Learned After Taking eDriving’s One More Second Defensive Driving Course

[Amy Tarczynski, eDriving's contributing teen writer, details her driving experience since completing One More Second.]

Merge like a zipper when entering highwaysI screamed in my car the other day when I was driving. It wasn’t a yell, and it wasn’t an “AHH!”  It was a full-bellied shriek. My voice probably scared my passenger more than the inciting incident did.

Here’s what happened: I was driving on one of the most horrible, poorly designed freeways in Oakland (like I would on any normal afternoon), when an oblivious driver suddenly pulled straight out of his lane and into mine–right into where my car was going. I honked, and swerved over into the adjacent lane unscathed, luckily. No paint was exchanged and no one was hurt, aside from my passenger’s ringing eardrums.

Here’s the thing: This incident (and near collision) did not happen suddenly, nor was it luck that I was able to pull over into the other lane. But I was lucky to have recently taken eDriving’s defensive driving course, One More Second. A few key takeaways from that course stuck with me, helping me avoid a collision that day and on other days since. Here are those three big lessons.

1. What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong
Picture the scene that I observed, pre-scream: I am approaching my exit at highway speed and need to get over, but the two right lanes are full of cars trying to merge onto the freeway before my exit. I’m trying to get right; they’re trying to merge left. I’m going fast, and they’re going slow. Before I even overlap these cars, I am actively aware that this is a hazardous situation (the course’s lesson on hazard identification helped me to recognize this).

As soon as I am next to the lane of merging cars, not only have I reduced my speed, but I also have my exit strategy planned out. I know from my rear-view mirror that there’s a car tailing close behind me, so slamming on the brakes is not an option. However, the lane to my left is clear for the time being­.

With my emergency exit on my left, I direct my attention the cars on my right. I know they’re all trying to get out of the traffic and into a faster lane, so here is where I assume Murphy’s law: what can go wrong, will go wrong. I have a feeling that one of these drivers will forget to check his or her blind spot. If that happens, I won’t technically be the one at fault, but that doesn’t mean I won’t suffer from it with car damage and risk a serious injury. Defensive driving involves realizing that people make a lot of mistakes, and anticipating those mistakes before they have dire consequences.

2. Make It a Game of Strategy, not a Game of Luck
I have a bad feeling about these cars on my right, so not only have I slowed down and planned an escape route, but I am also now covering my horn–just in case. I’m using this strategy as a defensive move in my game plan for this merge.

When one driver juts out of his lane and right into mine, I do scream, but I am not taken by surprise. As soon as he budges, I am both laying on the horn and moving into the next lane.  Once safely away from the other car, I calmly merge back right into my exit lane and apologize to my friend for screaming.

Before taking One More Second, I would have shaken off that moment with, “Well that was close–lucky nothing happened.” My next thought, however, was more along the lines of, “that was too close, what could I have done differently?” The One More Second course challenged me to take luck out the equation. If I hadn’t known already that the left lane was clear, it would have been lucky for me to merge into it safely and not into another car. If I hadn’t realized there was a car behind me, it would have been lucky for me to have slammed on the brakes and not been rear-ended. In my case, my strategy was as simple as anticipating a potential danger and having a way out. It’s a simple idea to understand, but One More Second helped me put it into practice.

3. Seriously, No Phones
If I had even glanced at my phone at the same moment that the other driver wasn’t checking his blind spot, there’s no way I would have avoided him. What’s equally scary is that if I had been checking my phone in the moments leading up to the situation, I would have been too distracted to even notice the hazard or anticipate the potential danger.

It’s so easy to think, “I can just check it really quick.” I know because I catch myself thinking that exact thing constantly. The problem is that even “really quick” is plenty of time to miss something. The One More Second course made a compelling argument; and is what finally convinced me to find the discipline to not check–not even once.

Read Amy’s previous guest post, “One More Second: A Teen’s Review of eDriving’s New Defensive Driving Course.”


Want to be a defensive driver? Our course teaches advanced defensive driving skills–including freeway driving–to make sure you are ready for whatever the road brings. Learn more about the One More Second defensive driving course in the short video below.

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In the News: Representatives Seek to Strengthen Driving Education For Ohio Teenagers

Two Ohio state representatives are looking to expand existing requirements in the state’s young driver licensing system.

Ohio Reps. Gary Scherer and Michael Sheehy announce House Bill 293 June 29

Ohio Reps. Gary Scherer and Michael Sheehy announce House Bill 293 June 29

Ohio State Reps. Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Michael Sheehy (D-Toledo) unveiled House Bill 293 to the public June 29. The bill would implement two changes to teen driving laws in Ohio if passed:

  • Require teens to hold temporary instruction permits for one full year instead of only six months as it stands now
  • Modify the nighttime driving restriction to begin at 9 p.m. instead of midnight as it stands now

“Modernizing young driver licensing will give teens more protection and their parents peace of mind,” Scherer said during the announcement. “This will make our roads safer for drivers all across the state of Ohio.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 17% of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in the U.S. in 2015 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight. And although teens age 15-19 only account for 7% of the population, they also account for 11% – or $10 billion – of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries in the U.S.

House Bill 293 must pass the House, as well as the Senate, by the end of 2018. It’s currently awaiting assignment to an appropriate committee.


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Drivers Ed Diary Entry No. 4: Passing the Road Test

DriversEd.com Contributing Writer Grace Keller has kept an ongoing diary for us about her drivers ed experience. In her latest installment, she details how she feels now that she’s passed her road test.

Grace Keller Drivers Ed diary: passing the Maryland road test
Grace Keller is delighted to have passed the Maryland road test!

The end of my drivers ed experience came quicker than I had anticipated – it flew right by! After sitting in a classroom every night for two weeks in order to meet the Maryland Vehicle Association’s (MVA) requirements while also working to complete my online drivers ed course, not to mention my mandatory six hours of in-car lessons with an instructor, I went to the MVA and took my Maryland road test.

The in-car lessons were a unique experience. On three separate occasions, I met an instructor outside my driving school, and proceeded to drive around main roads, surrounding neighborhoods, and I even got a lesson on parking. Though the lessons were long and tiring (not to mention a bit stressful since I was driving with a stranger each day) I learned a lot during these lessons. There’s something very different about learning how to drive by actually doing it hands-on. Even though I found drivers ed interesting and helpful, I didn’t realize how much I had learned until I passed my road test! This means I now have my provisional license.

Road test nerves

Although I wish I had started my license process much earlier (I could have had my license in March) I’m glad I waited until a time where schoolwork and extracurriculars eased up a bit so that it wasn’t as stressful. When I went to take my road test, I was so, so nervous. I was actually shaking as I sat in the building waiting for my name to be called. Luckily, I had scheduled an appointment – because of this, I didn’t have to spend the entire day waiting.

During the road test I actually messed up the one thing I thought I had mastered: reverse parking. I thought I’d be better under pressure, but I was wrong. Thankfully the car I used, my mom’s Lexus, had a back-up camera and parking sensors. If it wasn’t for both of these installations, I don’t know if I would’ve passed my test. Both the back-up camera and the sensors allowed me to tweak the angles of the car until I could successfully park.

“You’ve passed the road test!”

After I had parked, the test proctor told me to pull out of the space and continue around the course (the MVA has a closed course that you drive around first, in order to see if you’re a fit enough driver before going onto the local roads). I was able to successfully complete the closed course, allowing me to move onto the road portion of the test. It felt more natural than I had anticipated, and my nerves were mostly calmed by the time I pulled back into the MVA lot and parked. My test proctor finished marking off his papers, then turned to me and said “Congratulations, you have passed the Maryland road test,” just like I had wished many times before!

Since passing the road test and receiving my license, I’ve helped my mom with the driving on an eight-hour road trip, ran errands here and there for my grandmother, and I’ve even filled my own gas tank! Of course, this has all happened while I’m on vacation in a small beach town, so the roads are much quieter and less busy. It’ll be much different driving back home in the city, but I’m looking forward to it.

Grace Keller has been keeping an online diary as she’s progressed through drivers ed. Read her earlier posts: Entry #1, Entry #2, Entry #3.

Ready to learn to drive?

• Sign up for DriversEd.com’s Online Teen Drivers Education
• Get behind the wheel with DriversEd.com’s In-Car Driving Lessons

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Parents, it’s time to review your family’s summer driving habits

The most dangerous driving season of the year is here—what you and your teen should know

The most dangerous driving season of the year is here—what you and your teen should know

Click the infographic for a detailed view

From grad parties to family trips, reasons to be on the road this summer are plentiful. But as your family – and your teenagers – get behind the wheel, realize that the summertime is the most dangerous time of the year for young drivers.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of fatal teen driver collisions increases by 15% between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This means more than 1,600 people have been killed in summertime accidents over the last five years involving inexperienced teen drivers. And while it’s impossible to blame one specific trend or issue, GuardChild conducted a survey that may clue us in: 69% of 16- to 18-year old teens have admitted to speeding, running lights, or texting while driving during the last month. Now is the time to properly train – and monitor – your young drivers.

Making progress
There is some good news, however: Fatal teen collision rates are down. The number of fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers dropped by 44% over the last decade for teens, compared to a smaller decrease of only 27% for the 35- to 40-year-old adult group.

“This is very, very significant,” transportation safety consultant Pam Fischer said during a recent Governors Highway Safety Association event. “We’ve made some tremendous strides here, absolutely.”

What is the good news attributed to? Graduated driver license (GDL) laws and lower teen licensure rates, Fischer said.

“No one can dispute the fact that GDL is the most effective tool we have to address teen crash risk,” Fischer said, adding that at the same time, “an estimated one in three teens is not licensed by age 18. The cost to own and operate a vehicle, we know, can be significant.”

The not-so-good news
“Teens are still 1.6 times more likely than the comparison group, older adult group, to be involved in a fatal crash,” Fischer noted. “That’s down from 1.8 times in 2005, but it’s up slightly from 1.3 in 2013. We’re still seeing teens have a high crash risk.”

Distracted driving is one of the top factors involved in teen collisions.

Between 2007 and 2015 the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recorded more than 8,200 videos of teen driving incidents. After reviewing the footage, the foundation found:

  • There was a significant, year-over-year increase in the number of teens involved in rear-end crashes
  • More than half of all incidents recorded involved potentially distracting behavior, including attending to passengers, cell phone use, and attending to other items inside the vehicle

In fact, passengers serve as some of the most dangerous distractions for young drivers – the risk of getting into a collision for the driver increases with each additional passenger. However, at the same time, only 44% of teens say they feel confident enough to speak up if riding in a car driven improperly by another young driver.

Enforce and exemplify
Teen Summer Driving
Parents: Change starts with you. Ensure your whole family experiences safe travels this summer by helping your teen establish safe driving habits:

  • Keep an eye out for eDriving’s soon-to-be-released app Mentor, coming out this fall for consumers. Install the app on your teen’s phone to monitor their driving behavior
  • Enroll your child in drivers ed at the time that’s best for them. Read “Is my teenager ready to drive?” on DriversEd.com
  • Be a good example. DoSomething.org reports that 56% of teenagers rely on their parents to learn how to drive
  • Talk to your teenager about the friends they ride with. While states’ GDL laws impose restrictions on teen passengers, ensure your child feels empowered to be vocal about dangerous driving behavior with their friends
  • Enforce curfews. More than 40% of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.


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