Back-to-school time means that a new bolus of high-schoolers that got their license over the summer are hitting the streets for the first time during the school year.  All the data suggests that the first year of driving is an especially important time for skill development.  Fortunately, our State has a “Graduated Drivers License” law to help better develop skills and limit distractions- keys to safe driving habits. 

So what’s a Graduated Driver’s License?  It means that for the first 6 months that a teen holds a license they can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they have a parent in the car or are driving directly to or from a school or religious activity, a job or a family emergency.  They’re also limited to 1 passenger under 18 (this restriction is very important statistically).  The limits are based on data that shows that late night driving and driving with other teen peer passengers sharply increases the risks of having a car crash.  

If you’re an Arizona parent that’s looking for additional (evidence based) guidance that goes above and beyond the state limits check out (and share) the CDCs 60-second “Parents Are the Key” video about safe teen driving.  Parents can make a positive difference when it comes to preventing the number one killer of teens in the United States—car crashes by: 1) making sure your teen always wears a seat belt; 2) limiting your teen’s nighttime driving; 3) limiting the number of teen passengers; and 4) having clear expectations about texting and phone use.  You might also want to reinforce your rules with a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.  You can also join a conversation about safe teen driving on Facebook

High-schoolers can take action by implementing the Battle of the Belt at their schools.  The Battle of the Belt is a year-long program to increase safety belt usage among students- and save lives.