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October 21, 2021

MassDOT Stresses Importance of Driving Safety During Teen Driver Safety Week  

Teen drivers encouraged to follow the speed limit, avoid distractions, and put cell phones away 

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is underscoring the importance of speaking with teenagers about safe driving behaviors during this 14th Annual National Teen Driver Safety Week. Adults are encouraged to specifically discuss traveling at or below the speed limit, wearing a seatbelt, putting cellular phones away, using turn signals, driving sober, and always looking at the road ahead. The U.S. Department of Transportation has statistics which show in 2019, almost 2,400 teens in the United States aged 13 to 19 were killed from injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

“Adults should regularly communicate with teenagers about safe driving habits,” said Registrar Colleen Ogilvie. “National Teen Driver Safety Week is an opportune time to have these conversations, emphasizing that wearing a seatbelt, traveling at the posted speed limit or lower, and driving hands-free are all actions that will result in getting to where you are going in a safe manner.”

Statistics show that some teens are at an especially higher risk for motor vehicle crashes. Males, drivers with teen or young adult passengers, and newly licensed drivers are all at a higher risk. Teen drivers should also take special care during nighttime and weekend driving.

Halloween sees higher rates of pedestrians and drunk driving. With the holiday approaching, adults should make sure teens are aware of all safety laws and measures. Young drivers are encouraged to be familiar with the Massachusetts Driving Manual, which can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/lists/drivers-manuals.

Constant communication about safe driving skills is essential for new teen drivers. Here are some more helpful tips for discussing driving safety:

  • Talk about safe driving practices and the consequences drivers face if they don’t obey the rules of the road.
  • Become familiar with Massachusetts’ nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all the graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions found here.
  • Be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits.
  • Set the rules before they hit the road and make it clear to your teen that violating the rules will have serious repercussions. Set consequences for specific rule violations, such as distracted driving.
  • Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. Remember that the use of phones and all electronic devices, including phones in hands-free mode, remains illegal for drivers under the age of 18.

The RMV has resources and tools available to help young adults learn how to drive safely and responsibly. Information for first time drivers can be found at https://www.mass.gov/guides/first-time-driver-start-here.  In addition, a newer online portal for first time drivers at Mass.Gov/RMV provides easy access to a variety of educational resources and materials and help serve as a guide for first-time drivers, and parents and guardians of Junior Operators.

More information about how teenagers can stay safe while driving can be found here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving#nhtsa-in-action.

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