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Teen driver safety tip of the day: Parents play a critical role in teen driver safety

October 21, 2013

Parents often don’t realize how influential they are with regard to their teens’ driving behaviors.

In coordination with National Teen Driver Safety Week, Governor Walker has proclaimed Teen Driver Safety Week in Wisconsin to help build awareness of teen driver safety. This year's theme is It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving. Teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group, and the crash risk is higher in the first year of driving than at any other time in a person’s driving career. While a teen is learning to drive and during the first year of independent driving, it takes a parent and a teen working together to develop a safe and skilled driver.

  • Teen drivers with involved parents are twice as likely to wear seat belts.
  • Crashes are preventable. Teens who say their parents set rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to crash.
  • The majority of teens (87 percent) report having a parent involved in the learning-to-drive process, with 4 in 10 only being taught by their parents.

Parents and teens who sign a safe-driving contract understand that each party has a role to play in safe, responsible driving. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a parent-teen safe-driving contract that can be a starting point to help parents and their teen drivers reach an agreement that best fits their family and expectations. The contract is available on the WisDOT web.

"We in DMV know that parents play an important role in helping their teen drivers make safe decisions behind the wheel. One of the best things parents can do with their teens who are learning to drive is to get lots of behind-the-wheel practice time," notes DMV Bureau of Driver Services Director Ann Perry. "Also, parents must set a good example by obeying speed limits, buckling up, and eliminating distractions."



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