DMV urges parents, teen drivers to discuss safe driving habits

Published 5:20 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles officials hope parents who have teens driving will take time this week to have a candid discussion about safe driving habits.

As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 16-22, the acting DMV commissioner hopes these conversations will safe lives and prevent injuries as teens take to the highways.

“Teen Driver Safety Week is an excellent time to start a conversation with the teens in your life about safe driving,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford in a news release. “Parents and guardians are the best line of defense a teen driver has to encourage safe driving behaviors. Setting an example through actions and words is more of an influence than one might think.”

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Forty-two teen drivers were killed in crashes last year in Virginia. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young drivers underestimate dangerous situations, don’t recognize hazards, and speed and tailgate more than experienced drivers. Studies show teen drivers who have died in crashes tend to have been speeding, drinking alcohol, driving aggressively and recklessly, and not wearing a seat belt.

Ford and the DMV offer these tips to help encourage teen drivers to practice safe driving:

  • Set a good example by being a safe driver yourself: Studies show that young drivers are influenced by the positive role modeling of responsible driving behaviors.
  • Understand Virginia-specific laws: Learn more about teen driving laws in Virginia.
  • Be a supportive coach: Stay calm and set clear expectations and consequences regarding dangerous driving behaviors. Consider a parent-teen driving contract to put expectations in writing.
  • Stay involved: Monitor your teen’s behavior behind the wheel; consider installing a device that provides data on driving behaviors so you know where improvement is needed.

It’s important to remember that while driver’s education classes help instill the rules of the road and provide some basic driving experience, they are only one component of helping your teen practice safe driving, according to the release. As a parent or guardian, DMV officials said it’s essential to take a proactive role in keeping your teen driver safe

and set a good example.