Parents of new drivers have so much on their minds -- driving instruction, rules of the road, daily supervision, fear -- that many of them "just don't know where to start." One way is to focus on the five biggest sources of danger for teen drivers and try to get control of them. An easy acronym to use to remember them is PACTS: passengers, alcohol, curfews, texting, and seat belts.
Passengers refers to understanding that each additional passenger in a teen's car increases the crash risk. Alcohol means zero tolerance for underage drinking (and drug use). Curfews means following your state's laws on night driving, and understanding that compliance with curfew laws requires careful planning whenever your teen is on the road. Texting also requires zero tolerance - the cell phone goes in the glove box before the ignition is turned on and it stays there until the car is turned off. And seat belts mean the teen driver and every passenger wear a belt at all times.
If parents of teens pay attention to these five dangers, they will be well on the way to reducing crash risks.
This guest post was written by Tim Hollister, of Hartford, Connecticut. Tim’s 17 year old some Reid died in a one-car crash in 2006. Since then, Tim has gone on to become a nationally-known advocate for safer teen driving, first through his national blog for parents, “From Reid’s Dad,” www.fromreidsdad.org, and now in his new book “NOT SO FAST: Parenting your Teen through the Dangers of Driving,” published by the Chicago Review Press: www.nsfteendriving.com.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Century Council or any Century Council member.*