The studies found that parents who set rules and boundaries (and actually follow-up on them with incentives and punishments) have children who are safer drivers. Involved parents cut their child’s risk of drinking and driving by 70%, 50% are less likely to speed and 30% are less likely to use a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Here’s another important tip: Teens who don’t have access to their own car (or rather the car Mommy and Daddy bequeathed to them) tend to get into fewer accidents, according to the studies. In fact, kids who have to ask for the car keys are half as likely to get into a crash.
In 2008, 4,400 teenagers died in car accidents, so these tips are not insignificant. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for 16- to 20-year-olds, and the risk increases when there are passengers in the car or — obviously — if they’ve been drinking alcohol or using drugs.
The best way to police your teen’s driving habits is to trust them — but not too much. Offer them incentives to behave responsibly behind the wheel, especially within the first six to 12 months after they get their driver’s license.