Driving In A New America, Inc


  • Purchase or borrow from the library a book specifically designed to help teenage drivers. (Two excellent books are Safe Young Drivers by Phil Berardelli and How to Drive published by AAA.)
  • Make sure the student can operate the following vehicle controls before the car moves an inch: mirror adjustments, parking brake, headlights (high and low beams) horn, windshield wipers, four-way flashers (also called hazard lights or hazard flashers), turn signals, front and rear defoggers.
  • Make sure all driver and all passengers have seatbelt buckled securely.
  • When driving with your student, use the mirror on back of the passenger seat sun visor, or purchase one that can be attached with a suction cup.
  • Have the student hold the steering wheel at the 3:00 and 9:00 position, and be prepared to grab the wheel (at the 2:00 position) if necessary.
  • Although it may be necessary to speak urgently, never raise your voice or "yell" at the student, as this will simply make them more nervous and more accident-prone.
  • Discuss "scanning" and "defensive driving" techniques.
  • Maintain a four second following distance behind other vehicles.
  • Discuss the importance of avoiding distractions from other passengers, as well as those from using a cell phone, changing a CD etc.
  • When a teenage driver has a friend in the car their chance of having an accident will double. Having more than one friend in the car will cause the accident rate to skyrocket to five times higher than when they are driving alone. For this reason we strongly recommend that, during the first year, your student be restricted to having no more than one additional teenage friend as a passenger in the car. We also recommend that they not ride with another teenage driver if there is going to be even one additional teenage passenger.


In the last decade, over 68,000 teens have died in car crashes.

The risk of crash involvement per mile driven among drivers 16-19 years old is four times the risk among older drivers. In fact, the crash rate per mile driven is almost three times as high among 16 year-olds as among 18-19 year olds.

Teen drivers account for 18 percent (1,964,000) of all the drivers involved in police reported crashes.

Sixty-five percent of teen passenger deaths occur when another teenager is driving.

In 2006, 15% of those who died in speed-related crashes were youth (15-20).

42.4% of young drivers involved in fatal crashes have had previous convictions for speeding or other dangerous moving violations.

While teens account for only 8.7% of the population, they are involved in 14.7% of all fatal crashes.

The fatality rate for teenage drivers, based on estimated annual travel, is about 4 times as high as the rate for drivers 25-69.

In 2006, 21% of the young drivers who where killed in crashes were intoxicated.

When a teenage driver adds one additional teenage passenger, the odds of having a fatal collision will double. If there are three or more teenagers in a car, the odds of having a fatal collision will be five times higher.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov)


The following infographic courtesy of Butler County Ford. Click/tap the graphic to view the full-sized version.