Picture of teen boy holding keys with state of maine behind him.

8 Tips to Keep Your Teens Safe

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1. Use Driver’s Ed—and More

Take an active role in helping your teenager learn how to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a wide variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic, on wintry roads or on the interstate. Supervised Remember that you’re a role model. New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving. Teens with crashes and violations often have parents with poor driving records.

2. Know the Law

Become familiar with restrictions on beginning drivers. Enforce the rules. To learn about the law in Maine, go to themtsc.org.

3. Restrict Passengers

Teen passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risk-taking. Because young drivers often transport their friends, there’s a teen passenger problem as well as a teen driver problem. About 6 of every 10 teenage passenger deaths (59%) during 2003 occurred in crashes with a teen driver. While night driving with passengers is particularly lethal, many fatal crashes with teen passengers occur during the day. The best policy is to restrict teenage passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time. 

4 Restrict Night Driving

Crash data shows that teen drivers are at greatest risk when driving at night. During these hours teen drivers are easily distracted or prone to take risks. Maine law prohibits drivers under age 18 from operat ing a vehicle between midnight and 5 AM. Maine s late night driving restrictions work - since the 12 AM to 5 AM restriction on drivers under 18 has been in place, teen driver related fatalities in Maine during those hours have decreased.

5. Supervise Practice Driving

Take an active role in helping your teenager learn how to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a wide variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic, on wintry roads or on the interstate. Supervised practice should be spread over at least six months and continue even after a teenager graduates from a learner’s permit to a restricted or full license.

 

Remember that you’re a role model. New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving. Teens with crashes and violations often have parents with poor driving records.

6. Require Safety Belt Use

Don’t assume that belt use when you’re in the car with your 16-year-old means belts will be used all the time, especially when your child is out with peers. Remember that belt use is lower among teenagers than older people. Insist on belts all the time—it’s the law.

7. Prohibit Drinking

Make it clear that it’s not only illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol in Maine, but it is highly dangerous to drink and drive. That’s why Maine has tough laws including a zero-tolerance policy for minors.

8. Choose Vehicles for Safety

Teenagers should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer protection in case they do crash. For example, small cars don’t offer the best protection in a crash. Avoid cars with performance images that might encourage speeding. Avoid trucks and sport utility vehicles — the smaller ones, especially, are more prone to roll over.