Dr. Boozman's Check-up

As the father of three daughters, I understand the nervous feelings that arise when you hand over the car keys to a teenager. Learning to drive is an exciting time for all teens, but it also comes with a big responsibility. Parents play an important role in educating about the dangers of driving. 

According to a recent survey, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers 14-18-years-old. Safe driving instruction by parents is a powerful step to ensuring teen drivers’ safety. In order to help provide parents with more resources to teach teens about safe driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated this week  as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  With many holidays approaching and teens driving to see family and friends, this week provides a great opportunity to talk to your teen about safe driving habits. 

Arkansas is a unique state where teens can earn a learner’s permit at 14 years old, a provisional license at 16 years old and an unrestricted license at 18. Due to the fact that teens in Arkansas can begin learning how to drive at 14 years old means that it is important to start teaching them safe habits while on the road. 

Although there are many important rules of the road to learn, National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on five areas to improve their safety.  Many of these safety points reinforce laws already on the books such as no cell phone use, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and no driving without using a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refers to this at the, “5 to Drive” rule.

As a parent it is important to set the rules for teen drivers before they hit the road, but also to reflect those same rules while driving.  For more resources on teen driving safety, please visit the National Teen Driving Safety Week or the teen driver education program.