October 18-24 is Teen Driver Safety Week, and it’s a great time for parents and close family and friends to talk to teen drivers they know about the risks they face while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) has teamed up with state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations on the teen driver safety campaign “5 to Drive.”

You think that taking the required driver’s training classes and completing the mandated number of hours behind the wheel will suffice, but there is a whole other world out their with an unaccompanied teen driver. Of course there is the most dangerous accessory, the smart phone. Texting, calling, Facebooking, etc. are all distractions teens find addictive. The freedom of driving solo or with friends pushes kids to bend the rules. This is where a good discussion about the “% to Drive” is especially important.

  1. No Drinking and Driving. Compared with other age groups, teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes, even though they’re too young to legally buy or possess alcohol. Nationally in 2013, almost one out of five (19 percent) of the teen drivers (15 to 19 years old) who were involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.
  1. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. Teens aren’t buckling up, and neither are their passengers. In 2013, 64 percent of all the young (13- to 19-year-old) passengers of teen drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes weren’t restrained. When the teen driver was also unrestrained, the number of all passengers unrestrained increased to almost 90 percent.
  1. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. In 2013, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 11 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group had the highest proportion of drivers distracted by phone use. That same year 318 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.
  1. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.
  1. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

It is important that all parents of teen drivers, as well as relatives and close friends, make sure that these young men and women keep safe behind the wheel. and get down the road in one piece.