Do you have teen drivers at home? Do your teens think they know everything about driving? As a parent, do you want to know everything? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this article is for you.
Teens and Motor Vehicles
October 20-26, 2013 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. What is that, you ask? Shortly after a series of deadly teen crashes in 2007, Congress passed a resolution declaring the third week in October to be National Teen Driver Safety Week. Its purpose: to raise awareness of teen driver safety topics and encourage safe driving by teens. Around the U.S., organizations are now focused on making sure that our teens drive safely to and from school or home, and when they are out socializing.
Why is this important? Motor Vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14 to 18-year-olds in America, with 2,105 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2011.  More than 282,000 were injured in 2010. Mile for mile, teens are in three times as many fatal crashes as an adult driver. And while the total teen fatality numbers have gone down for many years, in 2013 there was a twenty-percent jump in teen driver fatalities in the first six months.
Parents, Teens and I Know Everything
What can you do? Thankfully, with the increased awareness of this deadly issue, a number of important tools have been developed to educate and ensure that teens drive with safety in mind. One such tool for parents and teens is I Know Everything. Developed by the Century Council, I Know Everything takes the teen’s belief of ‘knowing everything‘ and a parent’s certainty that they have all the knowledge necessary to teach their children how to drive safely and gives it a twist.
Recognizing that parents do play an instrumental role in teen driver safety, and that teens have heard a number of safety messages, I Know Everything reminds both teens and parents what it means to be safe on the road. It is an integrated effort that highlights the issues of drunk driving and distracted driving and incorporates the parents in this crucial discussion.
Combining an engaging, fast paced animated video (shown below) with a comprehensive, research driven Guide to promote discussion among teens and between teens and parents, I Know Everything encourages an open discussion on teen driver safety issues. Community leaders and educators can also download the guide and use it and the video in classroom and community discussions.
The essential messages in I Know Everything are:
- Teens: When driving, pay attention 100% of the time
- Parents: Be a safe driving role model for your children, even before they reach adolescence.
Using these two core messages, the guide provides a number of approaches in discussing why these messages are crucial for teens to be safe drivers.
Start the Discussion Now
Teens driving safely does not happen overnight. It does not happen as the result of one conversation between the parents and the teen. Teens have a number of influences on their driving skills, good and bad. To ensure that teens understand the importance of driving safely, it will take an on-going discussion between parents and teens. National Teen Driver Safety Week and I Know Everything can help in this effort. But it is a discussion that must begin before children reach their teen years, and continue for weeks and even months and years after they obtain their driver’s license. And then maybe over time both teens and parents will know everything.
What driving issues do you think are important to talk about with your teenage driver?
Check out the video for I Know Everything
 For I Know Everything, the Century Council has partnered with: Family, Career and Community Leaders of America(FCCLA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation (IACP Foundation), The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), and the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA).