from the Road: Tips for Parents of New Teen Drivers
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
a driver's license is a milestone in a teen's life. Each year, some
9,000 16- and 17-year-olds get behind the wheel nationwide with
their driver's licenses. Young drivers are already at risk for car
crashes, due to the combination of driving inexperience and distractions,
such as having additional passengers in the car, eating or talking
on cell phones. In fact, collisions are the leading cause of death
for young people aged 15-20. These accident risks are greater when
the driver is using illicit drugs, such as marijuana, as well.
need to know that drugged driving can be lethal. A majority of licensed
teen drivers who use drugs regularly report that they "drug
and drive." An estimated 38,000 high school seniors in the
United States crashed in 2001 after driving under the influence
of marijuana in 2001.
are some guidelines parents can follow to help their teen "steer
clear of pot":
What's in the Car: One of the most common places high school
seniors report smoking marijuana is in their cars. There are numerous
products on the market that disguise drugs and drug paraphernalia
as everyday items, such as soda cans and CD cases, which teens can
easily carry in cars without attracting attention. Parents should
become familiar with these items - and other hiding places for drugs
- and conduct occasional car checks.
Out a Plan: Set limits on driving, especially in high-risk conditions
such as at night or on the highway, in poor weather conditions and
with other teens in the car. Limit your teen from riding with other
new drivers, and make sure he or she never gets in a car with other
teens who have been drinking or using drugs.
Caution: Know where your teen is and who he or she is with.
Get to know your teen's friends and their friends' parents. Be sure
you know the route they intend to drive when they go out.
Pit Stops: Develop a check-in time with your teen-a time when
your child calls in and gives a status of where he or she is and
who he or she is with.
for a Spin: Reinforce safe driving skills with your teen even
after he or she has a license by going for drives together. This
can also be a good time to catch up and have an open conversation
about important issues like drugs.
keep teen drivers safe on the road, many states are imposing rules
regarding the number of passengers teen drivers can have in the
car, cell phone usage and the number of hours new drivers can be
on the road. Be sure to check with your state's Department of Transportation
Web site for specific details.
more information on marijuana and driving safety visit www.theantidrug.com/teendriving.
The site also offers a free teen driving kit and online quiz for
parents. The kit can also be ordered by calling 1-800-788-2800.