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Healthcare Providers Can Help Reduce Teen Driving Deaths
Date:10/1/2008

ne third reported providing guidance on issues including driving with passengers.

Dr. D'Angelo and Dr. Halpern-Felsher cite time constraints, as well as a lack of streamlined tools to assist with effective counseling on safety as common reasons that providers have remained outside of the safe driving debate. By planning to add safe driving tips during annual or interval visits to the doctor's office around the ages of 15 and 16, providers may help communities reduce the number of teen crashes.

Providers can help teens and parents be more focused on safe driving by:

  • Understanding state licensure laws for young drivers.
  • Encouraging driver responsibility and the importance of avoiding distractions like cell phones, passengers, and loud music for teen drivers.
  • Discussing risk taking such as alcohol consumption or night-driving that increase the likelihood of crashes.

The authors also highlight the importance of an effective graduated licensure program beginning at age 16, including 6 months of no teen passengers, no cell phones until full licensure, and nighttime driving limits, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These guidelines can be shared with community leaders by local providers as key to reducing teen driving accidents.

"Everyone in their own community can play a role in helping teens understand how important safe driving truly is," Dr. D'Angelo continued. "Healthcare providers, who have a unique opportunity to communicate responsibility to patients one-on-one, should be able to efficiently and effectively help cities and towns reduce motor-vehicle crashes for young drivers."

Contact: Emily Dammeyer or Jennifer Leischer, Public Relations, 202-476-4500.

Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven
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