The largest – and that goes any way you want to take the meaning of the word – threat to the safety of your teen is sitting idle in the driveway – it’s the family vehicle.
Many parents believe drugs, alcohol, bullying or the internet are the most threatening factors to their teens, according to numerous public opinion polls, but actually the No.1 death cause among teenagers are car accidents. According to the latest public opinion poll released this week by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, has discovered that a vast majority of parents interviewed – 76 percent – did not estimate correctly the risk of having teens involved in auto crashes. “The biggest threat to teens’ safety is sitting in the driveway,” commented Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and chief executive of the National Safety Council. “The statistics have shown this for years, yet too many parents still do not appreciate that the first year of driving is a particularly deadly time in a teen’s life.” The poll was released to complement the National Teen Driver Safety Week, scheduled this year between October 18 and 24.
The survey did point out that while parents underestimate the seriousness of the problem, they do know how and why teens get involved in car accidents – 72 percent correctly pointed out lack of experience or poor decision making as among the main factors. The worst part is that few of them try to mitigate crash risks while many of the parents don’t even supervise their teens’ driving for the recommended amount of time while on the restricted licensing stage.