GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This week is national teen driver safety week. It comes as new research shows that teen traffic fatalities rose as much as 20% in some states last year.
Michelle Anderson, the director of operations at the National Road Safety Foundation, said it’s important to have conversations with young drivers to help prevent teen traffic deaths.
“It’s important that parents speak to their teens and just try to find out what they’re doing even with their friends when they’re not around their parents and to make sure that they arrive to their destinations safely,” Anderson said.
It’s also a good idea for parents to talk to their teens about impaired and distracted driving.
“It is not just cell phones. Just having a mere conversation is also something that can definitely lead to a crash. This is a cognitive issue and your brain, especially a young person, cannot manage both things at the same time, to have an in-depth conversation as well as paying attention to the road ahead of them,” Anderson said.
Most importantly, Anderson says to lead by example.
“Be a good role model. Meaning, once you get into that vehicle, buckle up. …make sure that you’re powering down from all your electronic devices and that you’re making all the necessary adjustments to your vehicle before pulling off. When your teen drivers see you doing this, this is the behavior that they are going to do and replicate when they’re in a vehicle and they’re not around you,” Anderson said.