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How Do You Make Sure Teens Drive Safely?

Tuesday's accident has parents talking about driving safety

In light of in which a pedestrian was struck by a Coach bus, parents of tweens and teens in Mahwah likely have driving at the top of their minds.

According to AAA, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashing the first time they go at it alone, when they are driving with other teens in the car, and when they are driving at night. The group also reports that teens are more likely than adults to make calls or send texts while driving and not wear their seatbelts.

AAA’s website advises parents that even after teens get their licenses, “you and your teen should still regularly drive together so that you can provide feedback and instruction.”

How do Mahwah parents feel?

How do you make sure your kids don’t engage in risky driving behaviors? How much involvement should parents have in driving decisions once kids are licensed drivers?

Patricia Patella July 27, 2011 at 05:37 PM
My kids are years away from driving, so I can only write how I think I will feel and behave at that time. Texting while driving is going to get you into an accident. My kids even know that now. There are plenty of videos on youtube and a network did a special on many teens killed while texting. Losing their lives over a "yea" or "k" response to an incoming text. Texting and driving is a NO. I will drive with them after they get their licenses. Just because the state gives you a license, doesn't make you an expert or even a good driver. Honestly, I would like the driving age raised. My reason for this is two accidents caused by 18 year olds. In the first, I was PARKED with my back door slightly open in my space to get my daughter out of the back and an 18 year old girl pulled into the empty space next to me way to close and took my brand new car door with her. Another example of poor judgement of an 18 year old driver is when my husband was stopped at a stop sign and the kid behind him decided not to stop until he was in our trunk. So young drivers, in my opinion absolutely need to be monitored after they get their licenses. Young drivers need to stop worrying about looking cool and need to be more careful! Tricia Patella Mom's Council
Jessica Mazzola July 27, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Suzanne Curry emailed me the following, with permission to reprint: "A Lifetime of Learning As my son just started driving on his own last October, this is a subject near and dear to me. One would be amazed at the amount of extra praying that goes on once their child is behind the wheel on their own. In a nutshell, I did the best I could to coach and teach him before he got his license, and when he gets in the car with me now it is still a learning opportunity. I am glad that they had to put in a certain amount of hours with a professional teacher. However, there are nuances that need to be learned. For instance, situations may include: what the right thing to do at a railroad crossing is, what to do if someone walks across the street when they are not supposed to (this happened, and my son stopped dead in the middle of the road), how to work a four way stop, getting onto Route 17 from a store, certain tricky roads or yields, courtesy at the Airmont Road overpass, getting into the lane you want at a Parkway toll, navigating a mall or supermarket parking lot, sharing the road with bicyclists, etc." Cont'd...
Jessica Mazzola July 27, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Cont'd... "I am thankful for the graduated driver license and I think it could be even stricter. Experience and maturity are needed to make a better driver. A bunch of kids talking in a car is a distraction. A cell phone vibrating in a car is a distraction. It should not even be out when they are driving. Just a quick glance to see the number could mean an accident. I keep my cell phone in my pocketbook while I drive and I think all kids should have it hidden away. Check it at a stoplight or when you end your journey, unless you have a speaker system and even with those I think the jury is still out as to whether or not it provides a measure of safety. I believe cells phones and Ipods are tremendous safety hazards. The question is worded "How much involvement should parents have in driving decisions?". All I can say is that my 86 year old dad still gives me "tips" when I am driving. My sons have a lifetime of mom's wisdom to look forward to. Suzanne Curry Writing as a Member of the Mom's Council"
Jessica Mazzola July 27, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Lauren Rosen emailed me the following, with permission to reprint: "The teen driving issue is on the top of the discussion list in my house. My 17 year-old son passed his road test in January, finished his Driver's Ed requirements, and is now a full fledged driver. Although he is my third and last child to earn this privilege, I am more concerned than ever. I find that driver's have more distractions today than ever before, mostly due to advanced technology. When I learned to drive there were no cell and smart phones, no I pods, no GPS devices, no satellite radio with a million stations, no drink holders, and no other drivers on the road with these distractions...and we still had accidents. Today, our children are faced with a multitude of temptations to take their eyes off the road and as much as we warn them of the fatal consequences, serious accidents still exist and are on the rise." Cont'd...
Jessica Mazzola July 27, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Cont'd... "I have some very fundamental rules that have worked so far. I will, however, say that they are hard to enforce. When my son pulls away from my house, it is all left to trust. I try to communicate with him often with regard to these “rules” and also try to let him drive when we go out together so I can see how he is progressing. Some of the rules are as follows: 1- No driving with more than one friend in the car until one year after he gets his license. 2- ABSOLUTELY no cell phone use at all, most including texting, and checking email. 3- A definite curfew is established based on time of week, month, activities, etc and must be strictly adhered to. 4- For the first six months, I must receive a phone call when he arrives at his destination and leaves for the next. 5- I will not pay for gas—which helps limit the amount of driving. 6- I will pay insurance, but if he gets an infraction of any kind that increases his insurance, he pays the overage. And... 7- If he gets a ticket of any kind or is sighted for inappropriate behavior, he loses his driving privileges indefinitely." These “rules” are non-negotiable! Driving is a privilege not a right and one that must be earned in my family. I pay the cost to be the boss :)" - Lauren Rosen

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