"Can I borrow the car?"
I remember asking like it was yesterday. How my parents ever got through the anxiety of handing over the keys, I'll never know. I'll admit, I'm terrified of the day my girls are old enough to drive. My dad taught me. He didn't have one of those brakes the driver's ed teacher had, he did however have a lot of patience. My parents made sure I was comfortable and educated before hitting the road on my own. There were a few fender benders along the way, and an infamous story about a lost shed, courtesy of a parking brake mishap in a stick shift, but thankfully, nothing too serious.
Memorial Day, however, not only signals the unofficial start of summer, it marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data analyzed by the nonprofit National Safety Council, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, nearly 1,000 people were killed in an accident involving a teen driver, and more than half killed were teens themselves. Kids are out of school, the weather is warmer, they have passengers, they could be out later at night, The National Safety Council says there are many contributing factors.
So, what can parents do? The NSC suggests establishing household driving guidelines and signing a parent-teen driving agreement. While the president and CEO of NSC says "putting our teens behind the wheel is the most dangerous thing we do as parents," Deborah Hersman adds, "parental engagement improves the odds for young drivers returning home over the next 100 days."
I know the laws have changed dramatically since I was 16, and I'm sure they will continue to evolve. One thing is for sure, my perspective certaintly has, now as a parent myself.