AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The National Road Safety Foundation announced that National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from Oct. 15-21.

“Parents need to be proactive and start the conversation about safe driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week,” said Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations at the NRSF. “Keep the conversations going every day. Teaching teens safe driving behaviors is a shared responsibility, and we all have a part to play.”

According to the NRSF, key issues parents can discuss with teens include:

  • Impaired Driving: While teens are too young to consume alcohol legally, nationally, 19% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 had alcohol in their system. Marijuana also affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Remind teens that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including many prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication — can have deadly consequences.
  • Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is a simple way teens can stay safer in a vehicle. Yet too many teens aren’t buckling up. More than half (51%) of the teen drivers who died in crashes in 2021 were unbuckled. Parents should encourage their teens to be firm and confirm that everyone is buckled before the vehicle moves.
  • Distracted Driving: According to the most recent data, in 2021, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 7% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Texting while driving is outlawed in 49 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving can be dangerous distractions for any driver.
  • Speed: In 2021, almost one-third (32%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind teens to always drive within the speed limit.
  • Passengers: Passengers in a teen’s vehicle can lead to disastrous consequences. Research shows the risk of a fatal crash dramatically increases in direct relation to the number of passengers in a vehicle. The likelihood that a teen driver will engage in risky behavior triples when multiple passengers are in the same vehicle.

“Parents should also encourage their teens and all family members to speak up if in a vehicle being driven unsafely,” said NRSF officials. “Surveys show that teens whose parents have discussions on safe behavior and set firm rules are typically engaged in less risky driving behaviors and were involved in fewer crashes.

For more information about National Teen Driver Safety, click here.

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