Let's Give them the Tools and Training to Keep Them Safe

During Teen Driver Safety Week we encourage adults to take the time to give teens the knowledge and hands-on training they need to develop safe driving habits for a lifetime. Inexperience is the biggest issue for new drivers, and the best solution is to help them safely gain experience behind the wheel. Car crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths for U.S. teenagers, but there’s plenty we can do to help keep them safe.

Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.


According to NHTSA, speeding is a critical safety issue for teen drivers. In 2021, it was a factor in 32% of the passenger vehicle teen drivers (15-18 years old) involved in fatal crashes. 

What Can You Do?

  • Get Involved: Teens who are monitored closely tend to speed less. Take the lead to do more to address speeding behavior by your teen driver and get involved in the learning-to-drive process.
  • Be a good role model: Never speed. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Kids learn from watching their parents.
  • Hold up on buying your teen a new car: According to a study by GHSA, when a teen first has a driver’s license, he or she is more likely to speed in their own vehicle versus driving the family sedan. If possible, parents should choose larger, newer cars rather than high-performance vehicles.

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Systems

To help your teen stay safe behind the wheel, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that limits high-risk driving situations for new drivers. This approach can reduce your teen’s crash risk by as much as 50%. 

The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Most programs include three stages:

  • Learner Stage: supervised driving, cumulating with a driving test;
  • Intermediate Stage: limiting unsupervised driving in high risk situations; and
  • Full Privilege Stage: a standard driver’s license.

During the 1990s, many states began enacting GDL laws. The programs and types of restrictions vary from state to state. Below are some highlights:

  • Cell Phones/Texting: 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. (See GHSA’s Cell Phone laws page for more information.)
  • Nighttime Driving Restriction: All states except Vermont restrict nighttime driving during the intermediate stage.
  • Passenger Restriction: 47 states and D.C. restrict the number of passengers during the intermediate stage.
  • Novice Driver Decal: New Jersey is the only state with a measure requiring those younger than 21 without full-privilege licenses to display a decal on their vehicle identifying them as new drivers.

Ground Rules

Spell Out the Rules: No cell phones, no passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, no driving when tired, and always buckle up. These rules could help save a teen’s life. 

Parent-teen driving agreement.  

Using Technology to Track Teen Driving

There’s increasingly more technology allowing parents to keep tabs on where their young driver is and at what speed they are driving.

Much of the technology that is available to parents involves apps, which can be installed on a teen’s phone and provide real-time data while they are in a car. 

Some examples of apps include Life360, RoadReady, and Bouncie. 

In addition, car manufacturers like Tesla and GM include Teen Safety Driving features. Teen Driver from GM is a virtual backseat driver, with no parental nagging. Just like an academic report card, the technology gives parents and teens updates on driving performance and areas for improvement. Parents can set limits on speed and audio levels, along with speed alerts to nudge teens to slow down. Tesla’s vehicles allow parents to remotely set max speed, max acceleration (they couldn’t exceed even if they wanted to) and provides alerts if they speed. 

Insurance companies like State Farm also offer apps.  Drive Safe & Save is all about smarter, safer driving and saving money on your auto insurance. 

Find Out More

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Contact Us

Photo enforcement educates drivers to change bad driving habits such as speeding and running red lights. Interested in bringing photo enforcement, such as speed and red light camera enforcement, to your community? Contact our Experts at: 888-666-4218, Ext. 6 for East Coast and Ext. 7 for West Coast.  We can also be reached at [email protected]