Announcement: National Teen Driver Safety Week — October 18–24, 2009

Source: MMWR Weekly,58(40); 1125-1126,  10/16/2009

Motor-vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death and the fourth leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits among teens aged 15–19 years. In 2007, approximately 4,200 teens in this age group died and an estimated 387,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor-vehicle crashes in the United States (1,2). To reduce morbidity and mortality, 49 states and the District of Columbia have adopted three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems. GDL systems provide longer practice periods, restrict unsupervised driving during the initial independent driving stage, and require greater participation of parents in their teen’s learning-to-drive process. These systems have reduced the collision risk for novice teen drivers by 20%–40% (3).

This year, National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18–24, highlights the importance of parents supervising their teen’s driving and establishing and enforcing rules of the road. Teens whose parents initially limit driving privileges have fewer traffic citations and collisions than teens whose parents do not restrict driving privileges (4). To increase awareness of the importance of parents in managing teen driver behavior and educating teens about high-risk activities that lead to motor-vehicle crashes, CDC has developed a communication campaign targeting the parents of novice teen drivers. The Parents Are the Key campaign is being pilot tested in central Arkansas and Columbus, Ohio. The campaign encourages parents to learn about and ensure that their teen adheres to their state’s GDL system requirements, establish rules of the road that limit novice teens’ nighttime driving and driving under other risky conditions, and enforce the rules with a parent-teen contract.

Information about teen driver safety and National Teen Driver Safety Week are available from CDC at, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at


  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) encyclopedia. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2009. Available at Accessed October 13, 2009.
  2. CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2009. Available at Accessed October 13, 2009.
  3. Shope JT. Graduated driver licensing: review of evaluation results since 2002. J Safety Res 2007;38:165–75.
  4. Simons-Morton B. Parent involvement in novice teen driving: rationale, evidence of effects, and potential for enhancing graduated driver licensing effectiveness. J Safety Res 2007;38:193–202.