Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

About.com gives parents dangerous advice for teen drivers

Posted by lapearce on July 2, 2009

Teens are more likely to speed and not wear seatbelts with teen passengers due to peer pressure

Teens are more likely to speed and not wear seatbelts with teen passengers due to peer pressure

Denise Witmer at About.com’s “Thirfty Thursday” advice for parents of teen drivers is one that is going to put teens in danger. Denise says that to save money parents should encourage their teens to carpool with friends, but then adds: On a side note: Stress that too many people in the car is not a good idea. Safety first!

How about: On a side note: disregard this entire tip because all passengers are not a good idea. Safety first!

A Michigan study showed that among male teen drivers, they had passengers in 43 percent of crashes, compared to 28 percent with adult men.  This is compared to 5 and 6 percent for alcohol. You wouldn’t see anyone give you advice to let your teen drink and drive, so you certainly shouldn’t take advice to all how them drive with passengers, as it can be more dangerous (from a statistical basis) than drinking and driving.

Witmer’s bio says that she is “About.com Guide to Parenting Teens Since 1997”  she may be well educated in teen development but she isn’t well informed about the dangers of driving and teens. This is a real shame, because as the go to for parenting teens she should be aware of the leading cause of death for teens and its contributing factors. But Witmer isn’t the only parent who is unaware of the dangers of driving.

This Allstate survey found that 88 percent of the parents they spoke to felt their teen was a good driver, even though less than a third of parents thought other teens were good drivers. 77 percent allowed their teens to drive with teen passengers.  Also notable is that nearly half of parents thought that the leading cause of teen crashes was alcohol. It’s not: speed, night driving and passengers are cause more crashes than teens driving drunk. Most of these parents likely wouldn’t knowingly allow their teen to drive drunk, but they will knowingly allow them to drive with friends, even though it is more dangerous.

Paying more for gas is better than losing a child in a crash. The cost of the insurance deductible for any crash related to passengers, fatal or not, will be more than the cost savings at the pump from carpooling. It simply isn’t worth the risk. I hope that about.com retracts this tip soon and that Witmer takes the time to educate herself on teen driving and its dangers. All parents should be aware, whether you are a parenting guide or just a parent.

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2 Responses to “About.com gives parents dangerous advice for teen drivers”

  1. Just as bad are high schools that reward car-pooling students with preferential access to parking permits. This is usually the case at schools with limited spaces available.

  2. I agree with Rich’s comment above. My son is 15 and will be driving next year. Te high school he attends does give discounts on parking passes if the kids car-pool. Absolutely I agree that more kids in the car are dangerous. Peer pressure opens the gate to dangerous situations. Shame on the about.com article. I wonder if that person has any teen drivers? Yes, as a parent I am looking for ways to safe money in this economy however, I’m not going to put my son at risk to save a few bucks.

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