AAP Provides Recommendations for Teen Drivers, Parents

THURSDAY, Sept. 27, 2018 — In a policy statement published online Sept. 24 in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented to help pediatricians provide guidance for teenage drivers and their families.

In an update to a 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, Elizabeth M. Alderman, M.D., from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues developed recommendations for pediatricians counseling teen drivers and their families.

The authors note that in the United States, drivers aged 15 to 19 years have the highest rate of motor vehicle crashes among all age groups and contribute disproportionately to traffic fatalities. They recommend that pediatricians remind parents that their driving and behavior will shape the behavior of their teen drivers. Parents should be assisted in identifying adolescents with acute or chronic medical or behavioral risk factors. Pediatricians should discuss avoidance of distracted driving and responsible technology use; continue to counsel adolescents on seat belt use and the risks of alcohol-, illicit substance-, and medication-impaired driving; and promote use of active and alternative transport modes. Parents should be encouraged to practice driving with their teenagers in a variety of environments.

“We all know how easy it is to become distracted while driving, particularly in the age of texting and technology,” Alderman said in a statement. “Parents can set a powerful example with their own driving habits, from using a seat belt regularly to avoiding cell phone use or speeding.”

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Posted: September 2018

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