AAA Recommends Parents Model Safe Driving Behaviors and Supervise Summer Practice Sessions

BELLEVUE, Wash. (May 28, 2020) – One thing that COVID-19 won’t change this summers is teens will be behind the wheel more and combined with their driving inexperience always leads to an increase in teen driver crashes. AAA suggests parents can help reduce risks by modeling safe driving behaviors and ensuring their teens practice them while behind the wheel.

Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following unsafe behaviors in the past 30 days:

  • Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
  • Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
  • Texting (35%)
  • Red-light running (32%)
  • Aggressive driving (31%)
  • Drowsy driving (25%)
  • Driving without a seatbelt (17%)

To support parents in conducting practice driving sessions during COVID-19 and beyond, AAA is providing a free four-page guide to help parents coach their teens on how to drive safely. The “Coaching Your New Driver – An In-Car Guide for Parents” offers behind-the-wheel lesson plans, including a variety of “DOs and DON’Ts” to make the learning experience as helpful as possible. For parents, the guide can be beneficial as they coach their teens on a variety of routes, building on their formal behind-the-wheel training.

“Parents remain the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel,” said Kelly Just, AAA Washington Traffic Safety Manager. “It’s never too soon to educate teens on the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana. But we can’t just tell teens about the dangers. We must also refrain from engaging in risky driving behaviors and ensure we are modeling good behavior.”

To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with your teen, more is recommended.
  • Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart Parent Session also offers excellent resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.