- Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Media Contact for MassDOT Stresses Importance of Adult Role Models During Teen Driver Safety Week
MassDOT Stresses Importance of Adult Role Models During Teen Driver Safety Week
"Buckling Up" is the number one action to keep everyone safe in a vehicle!
Teen drivers urged to follow the speed limit, be alert, avoid distractions, and put cell phones away
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Registry of Motor Vehicles are underscoring the importance of speaking with teenagers about safe driving behaviors during the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Teen Driver Safety Week, which began on Sunday, October 16, and continues through Saturday, October 22. Adults are encouraged to specifically discuss with teens the need to travel at or below the speed limit, wear a seatbelt, put cellular phones away, use turn signals, drive sober and alert, always look at the road ahead and do not drive drowsy or distracted. The U.S. Department of Transportation 2019 statistics show there were 2,042 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 628 of the deaths were the teen driver.
“National Teen Driver Safety Week is an appropriate time for all of us to review our own driving behaviors to ensure we are acting as good role models for teenage drivers. During this week, please make time to discuss the importance of safe driving behaviors like driving within the speed limit, wearing a seat belt to prevent ejection during a crash, and putting down the phone while driving,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie.
Statistics show some teens are at an especially higher risk for motor vehicle crashes. Males, drivers with teen or young adult passengers, and newly licensed drivers are all at a higher risk. Teen drivers should also take special care during nighttime and weekend driving. In 2020 in Massachusetts, an estimated 834 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes and an estimated 2,268 people were injured in crashes involving a teen driver operating a passenger car, which accounts for almost seven percent of all roadway injuries that year.
Halloween sees higher rates of pedestrian crashes and drunk driving. With the holiday approaching, adults should make sure teens are aware of all safety laws. Young drivers are encouraged to be familiar with the rules of the road included in the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual, which can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/lists/drivers-manuals.
Constant communication about safe driving skills is essential for new teen drivers. Here are some more helpful tips for discussing driving safely:
- Talk about safe driving practices and the consequences drivers face if they don’t obey the rules of the road.
- Become familiar with Massachusetts’ nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all the junior operator restrictions found at Junior Operator License (JOL) requirements | Mass.gov.
- Be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits.
- Set the rules for teenagers before they head out on the road and make it clear to your teen that violating the rules will have serious repercussions. Set consequences for specific rule violations, such as distracted driving.
- Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. Remember that the use of phones and all electronic devices, including phones in hands-free mode, remains illegal for drivers under the age of 18.
The RMV has resources and tools available to help young adults learn how to drive safely and responsibly. Safe driving tips, study material, and videos for both student drivers and teen drivers, as well as a driving guide for parents and guardians can be found at First Time Driver? Start here... | Mass.gov. The Parent Supervised Driving Program guide is designed to improve teen driver safety by providing parents and guardians with a well-organized approach to teaching the necessary driving skills.
Additional information and recommendations on how teenagers can stay safe while driving can be found on the National Transportation Safety Board website at https://www.ntsb.gov/Advocacy/safety-topics/Pages/teen-driver-safety.aspx and on the NHTSA website at Teen Safe Driving: How Teens Can Be Safer Drivers | NHTSA.