According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute has stated that while teenagers drive less than all but the oldest people, their numbers of crashes and crash deaths are disproportionately high. In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.
There are eight major causes leading to young drivers’ crashing and they are: inexperience; driving with teen passengers; nighttime driving; not using seat belts; distracted driving; drowsy driving; reckless driving; and, impaired driving.
Some "helicopter" parents look to manufacturers and technology to assist them.
A few global positioning system (GPS) manufacturers have developed technology which enable parents to monitor driving speeds and distances. This onboard technology allows parents to see where their teen is driving - and to receive notifications if the vehicle speed exceeds established parameters.
...while teenagers drive less than all but the oldest people, their numbers of crashes and crash deaths are disproportionately high
Additional nanny-like features? Some manufacturers have provided some higher-end vehicles with anticipatory braking systems. Using a form of radar/sonar to forestall a collision and prepare the brakes for better stopping. These systems are a step beyond anti-lock brakes and can help newer drivers avoid collisions - if enabled.
Complementing this, some premium brand manufacturers also provide enhanced cruise control systems which allow a driver to establish a specific following distance from the vehicle in front. These programs ensure when the system is enabled, your vehicle will automatically distance itself from the car in front of it to assist with collision avoidance.
Taking things even further, the Ford MyKey allows parents to encourage teenagers to drive responsibly. With the ability to program the vehicle's key, it is possible to restrict poor driving habits and encourage positive behaviour behind the wheel such as increasing seat belt use, limiting vehicle top speeds and decreasing audio volume.
Teenagers are more likely to have a positive experience with certain monitoring tools when parents are upfront about the purpose, use it as a coaching tool and allow greater responsibility with improved skills and smart decision-making.
Finally, vehicle safety and the latest gadgets will only provide for a certain level of protection. Practice, awareness, education and continued learning are the most important tools a parent can share with their teenager. Ultimately, the most important factors in keeping any teen safe is the example set by a parent helping them learn - and understand – how to be a responsible driver. Common sense may prevail.