How to Protect Teen Drivers

Since inexperience is a leading factor in traffic crashes involving young adults, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) makes good sense.

Based on more than a decade of research, GDL ensures young drivers accumulate driving experience under controlled circumstances. Each step in the process includes certain restrictions tied to the permit. What makes GDL beneficial for parents is that while GDL may or may not be a state law, it can be a law in the home.

Below is a list of components that make up best practices in GDL. These are effective guidelines parents should enforce include when their young adult is learning to drive:

  • Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol

  • Never use a cell phone –hands held or hands free - while driving

  • Zero passengers under age 18 until driver is age 18

  • Seat belts are to be worn by all passengers at all times

  • Nighttime driving limits – no driving after 10:00 p.m. for the first six months

When all of these elements are incorporated in a state GDL laws, teen deaths from motor vehicle accidents have been reduced by up to 40 percent. The National Safety Council encourages parents to get involved and work with teens to ensure they understand and follow these rules.

As active participants in the learning process, parents should set good examples and avoid the dangerous behaviors they want their teens to avoid – like obeying traffic signals, aggressive driving, speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors.

P.A.R.T.Y. would like to thank the National Safety Council for its support. The materials on this page were provided with permission by the National Safety Council.