Programs for Parents and Guardians
Your teen may seeobtaining a driver’s license as a step towardindependence , and you may be unsure your teen is ready for the road.Being a new driver is a big responsibility, so it is important to feel confident you and your teen are ready and prepared for them to take on the road. Discuss with your teen your expectations for them as a new driver and your ground rules before you hand over the car keys. Teenagers are still young enough to need trusted adult guidance, and due to their developmental need to take risks plusa lack of experience puts them at a higher rate of fatal crashes.1 Teens are more likely to speed, make driving errors, and they get easily distracted - especially if their friends are in the car.1 That is why there is a three-stage Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system and Graduated Driver Licensing System Planning Guide that limits high-risk driving situations for your new driver.1 These two methods can reduce your teen’s crash risk by as much as 50%.1
Did you know?
A major threat to your teen's safety is driving or riding in a car with a teen driver.2 According to the CDC the fact is, almost 2,400 teens aged 13-19 lost their lives in car crashes in 2019.2 That is seven teens a day too many.2 And the main cause is driver inexperience.2 As parents you play an important role towards keeping your teen safe.
Are you prepared?
The following information will help you to support and guide your teen to become a safe and responsible driver.
- Learn about your state’s GDL Laws: New Hampshire GDL .3 Familiarizing yourself with the restrictions placed on your teen’s license can better aid you in enforcing New Hampshire’s laws.3 You have the perfect opportunity to establish some important ground rules for your teen drivers before handing over the car keys.1 Be prepared, restrict night driving and the amount of passengers, prohibit driving while using the phone or other electronic devices, and require they wear their seat belt at all times.1
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.1 Remind them that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, and it is deadly to drink and drive. If a teen is under 21, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should always be at .00.1
- Be a good role model. Remember that your teen is looking to you as a new driver, so practice safe driving yourself.1 Set aside time daily to take your teen on practice driving sessions.1 This time together will give you an opportunity to spend time with your teen and it allows your teen to improve some of the basic driving skills.1 Your teen’s learning will start at the home.1
Always wear your seat belt.
Don’t drink and drive. Never allow any alcohol or illegal drugs in the car.
Don’t eat, drink, talk or text on your cell phone, or do anything else that could distract you from your driving.
Stay within the speed limit and obey all traffic signals.
- Enforce strict penalties. Generally, penalties for breaking the contract should result in matching a consequence for the seriousness of the rule that is broken.4 Punishments for reckless driving, such as speeding or drunk driving, should be strict and may involves a loss of driving privileges.4
- Contact the doctor if your teen is taking medicine. The doctor can discuss with you and your teen if there are any concerns or suggestions around taking their medication and driving as some medication may have some side effects that could make driving unsafe.4
- Check out the car. Make sure the car your teen is driving is safe and in good condition.4 If your teen is buying a car, make sure you assist in researching safety ratings and having an auto mechanic inspect the car.4 In addition, be sure your teen is aware of the maintenance of a vehicle such as tire rotations, oil changes, etc.
- Don’t rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive. Remember that the driver’s education is just one piece of the learning experience for your teens, and they need as much education and hands on experience before being on their own.
- Make sure your teen is prepared. Create an emergency kit with your teen for every vehicle the family utilizes. Each emergency kit may vary as it should be tailored to your personal needs. Some examples of items to add to your emergency vehicle kit are as followed:
o First-aid kit (bandages, gauze, tweezers, etc.)
o Flashlight and extra batteries
o Hand sanitizer
o Water and nonperishable food items
o Jumper Cables
o Road flares, triangle reflectors or LED flares
o Glow sticks
o Multi tool
o Duct tape
o Zip ties
o Pepper Spray
o Bug Spray
o Toilet Paper
o Baby wipes
o Cell phone charger
o Blanket, gloves
- For further information on Emergency Kits please visit the National Highway Safety Council.
- Make a tough decision. If you’re concerned that your teen may not be ready to drive, you can prevent your teen from getting their license.4 All states allow parents to block their teen from getting a license if the teen is thought to be immature or reckless.4 Learn more from the Driver Licensing requirements for minors here: NH Division of Motor Vehicles or call 1-800-735-2964.
Key take away:
You have more influence on your teen than you may think. Be a good example and get involved in their driving habits from the beginning. Stay involved throughout the duration of their teen years, and talk to your teens regularly about traffic safety.
If you expect your teen to drive safely you need to drive safely too.
For additional information visit:
New Hampshire DMV Handbook (2022)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Driving Towards Zero
AT&T It Can Wait