New York Observes National Teen Driver Safety Week October 14-20, 2012

New State Campaign Stresses Parental Involvement as a Key to Teen Driving Safety

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 12, 2012) - As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 14-20, the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (NYSGTSC) are conducting a statewide campaign to educate and empower parents to talk to their teenage children about safe driving.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is an annual observance established by Congress to focus attention on the number one killer of teens – car crashes. New York's "Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety" campaign is a collaborative effort by the State and local communities to utilize social and traditional media and educational materials to promote safe teen driving.

The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety is a workgroup initiative of State and local representatives that promotes the evidence-based strategies to reduce teen driving crashes, fatalities, and injuries on roadways. The Partnership is coordinated by the NYSDOH, Bureau of Occupational Health and Injury Prevention through a grant from the NYSGTSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and addresses the judicial, policy, educational and law enforcement aspects of teen driving safety.

New York State has achieved major strides in reducing motor vehicle crash death and hospitalization rates among 16- and 17-year-old drivers through the institution of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). However, car crashes still remain the leading killer of teens, and collisions caused by teen drivers also impact other drivers on New York roadways. More than two-thirds of the crash deaths involving New York teen drivers occurred to someone other than the driver. Driving inexperience is the leading cause of car crashes with the risk being highest during the first few months of unsupervised driving.

Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to reduce the risk of a tragic car crash involving their teens. Research studies show that parental involvement is a key factor in protecting teen drivers. According to a study by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower the crash risk by 50 percent. Teens with involved parents are also:

  • twice as likely to wear seat belts;
  • 70 percent less likely to drink and drive;
  • half as likely to speed; and
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving.

Parents are urged to take the following steps to help keep their teen drivers as safe as possible:

  • Talk about the importance of safe driving and buckling up before your teen can drive.
  • Be a good driving role model! Drive safely, avoid texting while driving, buckle up, and follow the rules of the road. Teens learn their driving habits by watching their parents drive.
  • Know and speak with your teen about the NYS GDL and other laws for drivers. Use the GDL to set driving rules and limits for your teen driver, which include night driving and passenger restrictions. For GDL information, go to
  • Use a parent/teen driving agreement to set and enforce driving rules during the first year of unsupervised driving. Gradually introduce new driving privileges as your teen proves to be a responsible driver. For samples of agreements, go to; or contact your car insurance company.

The State is also encouraging local campaigns to promote "Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driver Safety" by offering a toolkit that includes social media messages, a press release, public service announcements (PSAs), educational materials for parents, and a sample proclamation that can be issued to declare National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Supplies of tip cards and posters are also available to parents and for display in locations such as physician offices, county Department of Motor Vehicle offices, and other locations routinely accessed by parents of teen drivers.

For additional information about teen driving safety, visit the following web pages: