There’s never a more exciting time in the life of your teen then the end of the school year, especially senior year! It’s a time of proms, graduation parties, and other celebrations. Parents and teens alike are busy picking out dresses and tuxedos, caps and gowns and planning graduation parties. During these exciting times, who wants to think about the risk and dangers involved? As a parent, these risks have to be considered and you’ll want to take steps to keep your teens and their friends safe.
Consider these facts:
- Teens are at a greater risk of fatal car accidents (not only because of alcohol). The National Safety Council lists vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 18 years old and teens have three times the fatal crash rate of drivers over the age of 20. Other driving dangers for teens include drunk driving, distracted driving, texting, not using a seat belt, speeding and being distracted by other passengers. These driving dangers are always present but are more prevalent, around graduation time.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of all teen driving accidents are alcohol-related and about a third of those crashes happen during the months of April, May, and June (prime time for proms and graduation parties).
- 66% of teen passengers who die in a crash were not wearing a seat belt
- McSweeney & Ricci wants to help make sure this time remains one of celebration and joy for your family. We encourage you to have open and frequent conversations with your teens about driving safely and celebrating responsibly.
We’ve compiled a list of Safe Driving Tips to help keep your teen safe:
- Be the Example-As a parent, whether your teen is a safe driver, starts with your example. Practice safe driving, always wear your seat belt and limit distractions such as cell phone use. Make sure your teen knows that when you are celebrating, you call an Uber or designate a driver.
- Remind your teen to never drink and drive- while underage drinking is illegal, peer pressure can be at a maximum during prom and graduation time.
- Talk with your teen to make sure you are on the same page about engaging in alcohol-free festivities and to never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.
- Discuss a plan with your teen, of what they can do if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.
- Create a code word or an emoji they can text you, so that they can ask you for help without having to be embarrassed in front of their friends.
- In these days of ridesharing, it is easy to get a ride when you need one. Let your teen know you will pay for an Uber or a driver to pick them up. Download the app onto their phone and set up your credit card as payment.
- Consider enrolling your teen in a distracted driving course-We’ve partnered with Drive In Control Crash Prevention Training to help reduce the rate of crashes. Drive In Control is a half-day, hands-on driver safety training course with location in South Weymouth, Westfield, and North Andover. The course uses real world situations on a closed course to promote safe driving and has been proven to reduce crashes by 70% as compared to traditional drivers education. McSweeney & Ricci clients qualify for $40 off the course cost and Safety Insurance Clients pay only $75 for the program. In addition, many insurance companies offer 5% or more off auto insurance with course completion. As any parent can tell you, adding a new driver to your auto policy adds significant risk and expense. Completing the Drive In Control course not only helps your teen to be a safer driver but also can reduce the cost of insurance. (For more information visit www.driveincontrol.org/mcsweeneyricci
- Familiarize yourself with the Massachusetts State laws for teen drivers and remind your teen driver about them-It is dangerous and often illegal for teens to drive late at night or with friends in their car. Violating these laws is not only dangerous but could also result in the suspension of your teen’s license.
- If you are hosting a graduation party at your home for your teen, make it a “dry” party and/or collect car keys from guests at the start. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Massachusetts’ underage drinking laws known as the Social Host Law. If underage drinking does happen on your property, there are a number of things that could go wrong and you could face criminal or civil liability charges. Your homeowners insurance does not cover the damage as most insurance policies exclude violations of the Social Host Law. Your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager can review the limits of your home insurance policy and discuss adding special event insurance or give you a quote for adding umbrella insurance, which can supplement your home and auto insurance.
Although it may seem your teen rarely listens to you, your influence is greater than you know. Frequent and open communication and practicing safety measures can help ensure your teen’s prom and graduation are happy memories you’ll both cherish.