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Parents with teen drivers advised to communicate clearly and frequently

Lack of driving experience and immaturity are often cited as contributing to the high number of traffic accidents involving teen drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2013 alone, a total of 2,163 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents and more than 243,000 sought emergency medical care for injuries suffered in traffic accidents.

Given these sobering statistics, it's easy to see why so many parents worry when their sons and daughters approach driving age. While states have taken steps to protect teen drivers by instituting graduated driver licensing laws, parents must do their part to model safe driving behaviors and enforce both GDL laws and their own driving rules.

A recent poll of more than 1,500 U.S. parents and their teen drivers revealed that there appear to be discrepancies between the limits that parents set on a teen driver and how the teen interprets those limits. For example, among parents who said they placed limits on their teens' driving, 13 percent of these teens reported that they had no limits. In cases where parents reported setting limits related to a teen driving at night, 20 percent of these teens "say they have no such limits."

Connecticut's GDL laws impose restrictions on drivers ages 16 and 17 related to:

  • Transporting underage passengers
  • Driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Using a cellphone (even hands free) while driving

To promote safe driving behaviors and help prevent teen drivers from causing or being involved in traffic accidents, parents would be wise to practice and promote safe driving habits and to talk openly to their teens about driving dangerous and their own expectations.

Source: WTOP, "Parents set limits on teen driving, but do teens follow?," Jan. 19, 2016

State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, "Driving Restrictions for 16 and 17 Year Olds," Feb. 4, 2016

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