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Ages & Stages

Myths vs Facts about Teen Drivers

There is often confusion about the best steps to keep teen drivers safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) seeks to clear up some of this confusion among teens and their parents about teen driving safety.

Responsible Teen Myth

  • Myth: My teen is responsible and would not drive dangerously, so is not at risk.
  • Fact: All teen drivers are at higher risk because they lack driving experience and judgment that only come with time and driving.

Experienced Driver Myth

  • Myth: My teen had plenty of practice driving during driver education and the 50 hours of required practice so is not at risk.
  • Fact: Driver education and practice driving are only the beginning of learning to drive – becoming a safe driver, just like any skill takes time, practice and experience.

Driving with a Friend Myth

  • Myth: It would be safer if my teen had a friend in the car, in case something happens.
  • Fact: Crash risks are nearly double with one passenger and increase even more with each additional passenger. Even "responsible" friends in the car can be distracting to a teen driver.

Licensing Laws Myth

  • Myth: The licensing requirements and driving laws for teens (also known as the GDL program) are sufficient to protect teen drivers.
  • Fact: The GDL program is good, but is just a MINIMUM. Effective parent-imposed restrictions that go beyond the laws, increase teen safety.

Driving with Siblings Myth

  • Myth: Sibling passengers are safer than other young passengers.
  • Fact: All young passengers are potentially distracting and at risk with a new driver – siblings are not safer.

Car Ownership Myth

  • Myth: By having a car, my teen will learn to take responsibility.
  • Fact: Teens with their own vehicles are at greater risk because they drive more and have fewer restrictions placed on them.

Other Parents Myth

  • Myth: Other parents do not set limits on their teens' driving.
  • Fact: Nearly all parents DO set limits, and teens appreciate knowing exactly what is expected of them. The stronger the limits, the better the safety outcomes.

Additional Information

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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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