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Parents: Talk to your teen drivers about rules of the road, distracted driving

The Insurance Alliance of Michigan is encouraging parents and guardians of teen drivers – or soon-to-be drivers – to discuss the importance of following the rules of the road and avoiding distracted driving.


In 2018, more than 8,989 people between the ages of 16 and 20 were hurt in car crashes in Michigan and 71 people were killed. That is down from 9,844 people between the ages of 16 and 20 hurt and 73 people killed in 2017.


“Nationwide, car accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths,” said Tricia Kinley, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “More than 40% of young adults say they text while driving, making it vitally important for parents and guardians to talk to their teen drivers early and often about the dangers of distracted driving. It will be time well spent to help make the roads a safer place.”


A report released last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident if they have other teens in the car with them. When teens are driving with parents, guardians or other adults, their chances of being involved in a fatal car crash decreased.


“With so many distractions for teens behind the wheel it’s critically important for parents and guardians to put in the hours with teen drivers, exposing them to driving in different scenarios and times of the day, so they are better prepared to be behind the wheel on their own,” Kinley said.


The Michigan State Police offers the following tips to parents and guardians of teen drivers:

  • Supervise your teen's driving.

  • Set driving rules and limits by having a teen/parent contract.

  • Talk to your teen about distracted driving.

  • Choose vehicles for safety, not image.

  • Lead by example and follow the rules of the road, which include:

  • Wearing a seat belt.

  • Avoiding talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.

  • Not driving while under the influence of alcohol.

  • No speeding.

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