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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

It is National Teen Driver Safety Week

Talk to your teen this week about safe driving. If they are a young driver, ask them to talk about what they are still uncomfortable with when behind the wheel. With the rainy season coming, remember to offer a little training time in the rain, even if they are already licensed.

In 2006, a total of 4,144 teens aged 16--19 years died, and nearly 400,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor-vehicle crashes in the United States.

The good news is that by delaying full driving privileges so that teens can gain driving experience under low-risk conditions, comprehensive graduated driver licensing systems can reduce fatal and nonfatal injury crashes of drivers aged 16 years by as much as 40%.

Strategies like extending the learner permit period, restricting night-time driving, and limiting teen passengers each contribute to crash reductions. Raising (or keeping) the minimum drinking age to 21 years and enforcing "zero" blood alcohol levels for teen drivers also has reduced motor-vehicle--related deaths and injuries.

Information about teen driver safety and National Teen Driver Safety Week are available from CDC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Photo credit: djuggler

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.