This is the year. The year your child gets behind the wheel of a car without you in the passenger seat telling him or her how to drive. Your nerves are on high alert, and concern for your child is mounting. 

Now the tests are in the past. But does your child understand the dangers of distracted driving? Does he or she realize the consequences of texting or talking to his or her friend so much that there is no chance to evade an accident? You may want to go over the Kentucky laws with them concerning teenage driving. 

The stats 

Distracted driving is an under-reported problem. Police officers and other law enforcement officials do not have the capabilities to detect the possibilities of distraction after a crash. Crash data from AAA from 2013-2017 between the Labor Day and Memorial Day holidays reveals the following: 

  • An average of around 700 people died each year in crashes involved teenage drivers. 
  • Speeding increases the severity of the collision and almost half of teen drivers said they sped on residential streets. 
  • Fatal crashes due to drinking and driving involved one in six teenagers. 
  • More than half report reading a text message or email while driving. 

The law 

The state of Kentucky has a Graduated Driving Licensing program to help lower the number of crashes involving teenage drivers. Kentucky has one of the highest teenage crash rates in the nation. 

For teenagers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license, there are driving curfews. Those under age 18 with a learner’s permit or intermediate license cannot use any wireless communication, which includes hands-free phones. And because friends in the car can also be a distraction, intermediate licensee holders cannot have more than one passenger under the age of 20. 

Distracted driving is not just a cellphone. It includes anything from eating, reading a map or paying more attention to an accident scene than the person ahead of you about to stop. Enforce your own rules for your teenager. Both of you sign an agreement, so your teen understands that driving is a privilege.