Safe teen drivers | Letter

As school gets out for the summer, I’d like to stress the importance of talking to teenagers about driving safety. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths for 15-18 year olds in the United States and many teen collisions happen in the summer months leading up to Labor Day weekend.

Kenmore parents, if you have teens, please start shaping your teen into a safe and capable driver. Our officers love talking to our Kenmore youth, but we want it to be at fun summer events or National Night Out…not because they are engaged in risky driving, or worse, we are responding to a collision.

Start the conversation early: Talk to your teens about safe driving early and often, before they reach driving age. But don’t stop there. Have conversations with the parents of your teens’ peers or friends and compare notes — both are key to your teens’ safety. I get it. I have teenagers myself. Sometimes these conversations are hard! Maybe your teen will “hear” tips better if they come from a trusted family friend or aunt or uncle.

Set the standard: Talking is important, but action is even better. Show your kids safe driving behavior. Start by modeling good habits any time you drive them anywhere, even before they begin to drive. Make sure you are turning off your cell phone and stowing it away and buckling your seat belt before starting your car.

Get it in writing: When your teenagers begin driving, consider setting ground rules and outline the consequences for breaking them in a parent-teen contract like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Parent-Teen Driving Contract.

Spell out the rules: No cell phones, passenger limits, no speeding, no alcohol, no driving when tired, and always buckle up. These rules could help save your teen’s life.

Make technology work for you: Did you know there are several apps that let you know when your teen driver is speeding, or in a car that is speeding? Or, that will disable texting and social media while driving? It might seem a bit of “helicopter” parenting, but if it helps them slow down, maybe it’s worth it.

Stay safe on the roads this summer Kenmore! We love the Kenmore community and we need you to look out for each other. Thank you!

Chief Pete Horvath

Kenmore Police Department