Category Archives: Teen Driving

AAA Analysis Finds Seven of Top 10 Deadliest Days for Teens Occur During Summer

Auto club reminds parents that summer vacation should not be a ‘vacation from safety’

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 6, 2011) – With deadly traffic crashes peaking for teens during the summer months of June, July and August, AAA urges parents of teens to increase their focus on safety during the school-free months ahead. Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers and passengers with seven of the top 10 deadliest days of the year occurring between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, according to an analysis of crash data completed by AAA.

“Parents should not underestimate the critical role they play in keeping their teens safe, especially during these high-risk months,” said AAA Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso. “Life feels more care-free when school’s out and teens have more opportunities to drive or ride in cars late at night with other teens – a deadly mix. With the majority of the most dangerous days falling during the traditional summer vacation months, parents must realize that there is no summer break from safety and be vigilant about remaining involved and enforcing rules with their teens.”

According to AAA, over 7,300 teen drivers and passengers ages 13-19 died in traffic crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays during the five-year period of 2005-2009. An average of 422 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the deadly summer months as compared to a monthly average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months. 

Many states have restrictions on passengers and on night driving for teens under Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. A recent poll by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows a clear majority, seven out of 10 Americans, favor stricter enforcement of driving laws. But regardless of the law, parents play a critical role in keeping teens safe

“To keep teens safe during these dangerous months and year round, parents should go beyond compliance of state laws and make teens abide by rules of the house,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. 

AAA suggests the following tips for parents to keep teen drivers safe:

Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose –Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Parents should limit teens’ driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.

Become an effective driving coach – The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving, where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together to help the teen manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions. AAA’s Teaching Your Teens to Drive coaching program is a great tool to help parents become effective driving coaches for their teens and is available at 800-327-3444.

Limit the number of teen passengers and time as a passenger – Teen crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers. Crash risk begins to increase at the age of 12, well before a teen can obtain a driver’s permit or license – and before many parents start to think about their children being at risk riding as a passenger of a teen driver. Parents should set firm rules against driving with teen passengers and restrict their teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver.

Restrict night driving – A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles when driving at night. Many parents rightly limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet they should limit evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. AAA recommends that newly-licensed teens not drive after 9 or 10 p.m. unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

Establish a parent-teen driving agreement – Many parents and teens find written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website, The comprehensive website offers a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process, to include AAA StartSmart, a free online resource based on a research-tested program for families developed by the National Institutes of Health.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at


The above AAA news release has been reprint with the permission of AAA.




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Toyota Driving Expectations Program

Here is a scary statistic! According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is four times that of older drivers.  Toyota has taken notice of this and wants to help parents make their young drivers better drivers. The Toyota Driving Expectations program is a class designed to teach teens (15-19 years of age) defensive driving and help them understand all their vehicles safety features.  To learn more and register, visit their website Toyota Driving Expectations.

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What kids aren’t hearing at alcohol education lectures – Rachael’s story – by Alison Rhodes The Safety Mom

Last night the Youth Council in my community sponsored an event about the current laws and issues surrounding teen drinking and driving. They had several speakers, the head doctor at the local ER, a defense attorney who explained the legal and financial ramifications of serving minors and the local police officer assigned as the liaison with the schools. But the most enlightening speaker was a girl named Rachael. We weren’t told her last name, we only learned that, at 26, she is a recovering alcoholic.

Rachael admitted that she never prepares a speech for these events, she just speaks from the heart. And everytime she does she’s scared to death. But she needs to do it, she explained, because all of us need to hear her story. Rachael told us that growing up she never dreamed she’d be an alcoholic. The image in her mind of an alcoholic was some disheveled guy living on the street and drinking out of a brown paper bag. When she was in kindegarten this was not the picture of who she wanted to be when she grew up. She wanted to be a ballerina. She came from an extremely normal home – her mother is a writer, her father a lawyer and they live in an extremely affluent area of Westchester County, NY. Her parents are not alcoholics she quickly told us. And to this day her mother continues to blame herself for Rachael becoming an alcoholic at 16 years of age. But Rachael believes this is something your born with. She was an extremely normal kid but she always wanted more of everything, more TV time, toys, candy, whatever.

The problem, Rachael explained, was that at some point, she began looking in the mirror and hating what she saw. She felt she wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough or well liked. She hated herself and felt everyone around her hated her. She equated her alcholism to her love of Oreo cookies. She loved every kind of Oreo cookie but especiallly Double Stuff. She would sit there and eat one sleeve of cookies and then, hate herself for doing it. She’d feel fat, ugly and depressed and so, she’d eat a second sleeve of cookies. Then, feeling even more depressed, fat and ugly, she’d eat the third sleeve of cookies.

She said that’s what alcoholism is like. She’d take a drink and hate herself for it, feel stupid and even more depressed – so she’d take another drink. What Rachael explained is that when she was in school there would be the lectures from the local police department and doctors telling kids not to drink – how they would end up dead or in jail. But whats she said was never explained to her or her friends is that drinking won’t make you feel smarter, prettier or happier. It won’t make the problems go away. No one ever told her that blacking out wasn’t normal. Rachael explained that she’d wake up in the morning after drinking and look at her Facebook page to find pictures of what she’d done the night before to “fill in the blanks.” She and her friends thought it was funny to not remember things from the previous evening.

What Rachael learned the hard way, and she wanted the teens to know last night, is that drinking doesn’t make everything better. It doesn’t make your problems go away and you don’t feel better about yourself. Sadly, it just keeps making everything worse. Finally at 20 she gave up drinking. She said that she’s never had a drink since she’s been of legal age. Pretty scary.

I’m not an alcoholic but Rachael’s story gave me a different perspective on what goes through the mind of a teen when they drink. It made me stop and think about the anti-drinking lectures they get at school. Is anyone telling them the simple message that drinking and drugs aren’t going to take the pain away? Do they know that they’re not the only kid that feels stupid, ugly or not popular enough? Are they being told that they can talk about this because almost all of their friends are feeling the exact same way? This is the message we need to get out to our kids.

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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My View From The Bay Segment On Brain Injury in Kids

I just got back from a rain-soaked trip to San Francisco for my View From The Bay segment.  Without a doubt, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and I love doing this show.  I’ve known the host, Spencer Christian, for years and it’s always such fun working with him!

If you didn’t have a chance to see it, here’s the link  

And here are the links to some of the products I discussed:

Summer Infant –

Window Wedge –

Life Belt –


Cord Blood Registry –

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions Babyproofing services, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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Do Kids Really Need To Drive at 16?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety presented recommendations yesterday to the Governor's Highway Safety Association advocating to have the driving age raised to 17 or even 18.  There's good reason for this.  Studies show that the rate of fatal and non-fatal car crashes for every mile driven by a 16-year old is 10 times higher that of a 30 year old.  Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers.

Needless to say I'm sure this would not sit well with teens.  But the statistics don't lie – car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens with close to 3,500 deaths and an additional 272,000 injuries.  In New Jersey, however, where the driving age is 17, the rate of teen deaths and injuries is lower than the national average. 

While there are many responsible 16 year-olds, are they mature enough to handle dangerous situations that come up on dark or slippery roads?  Are parent's against raising the driving age so that they can be freed from some of the after-school driving responsibilities and have an extra driver to help shuttle younger siblings back and forth to various activities?

Regardless of the driving age, do you have restrictions on your teen driver?  What are your thoughts on raising the age?

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