The rise of teen driver deaths – what more can be done?

By on March 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Posted in: Safety and Insurance Issues

Teen driverAs the father of a young man who’s in the process of getting his driver’s license, I’m keenly interested in anything that’s related to keeping young drivers safe on the road. Naturally, I was troubled by a report I saw recently from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which said that the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles rose during the first part of 2011. That statistic has declined steadily for eight consecutive years – a streak that appears to be in jeopardy (although year-end data is not yet available for 2011).

Now, my son is shaping up to be a pretty good driver – at least, when I’m in the car with him. But I won’t be able to accompany him every time he wants to get behind the wheel (not that I would want to). With all of the state graduated licensing laws, cellphone restrictions and texting bans, what more can be done to stop teen fatalities – short of requiring teens to have a parental passenger every time they drive?

For starters, GEICO’s parent-teen driving contract could help everyone in the family – even Mom and Dad – focus on safe driving habits. To download a copy of the parent-teen contract, please visit And even if you’re not the parent of a teen driver, you can still be an ambassador for safe driving and speak to teens about the dangers of distracted driving. You’ll find presentation materials on the same site.

As for teens, please restrict phone usage in the car to emergency situations. If you must make a call, pull over in a safe spot and park to do it. Do not engage in text messaging while driving and don’t let your friends do it, either.

And please let us know … what advice would you offer for teen drivers?