Keeping Your Teens Safe Behind the Wheel

Arrive in Style Campaign

This past April, Toyota partnered with Teen Vogue to create a Safe Driving Campaign for teenage girls, called “Arrive in Style.” Meant to educate and empower, this campaign was spurred, in part, by the results of a recent study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (MTRI).

The disturbing results of the study indicated that 62% of teen girls use a cell phone while driving. Texting was also an issue; one in three girls reported regularly reading texts while behind the wheel, and another 23% admitted to responding to texts as they drive. That’s a lot of distracted driving going on among the nation’s teenage population.

Although the Safe Driving Campaign—which includes monthly advertorials, online videos and social media elements—focused on safe driving for teen girls, distracted driving is a major issue for all teens. Even though modern cars are much safer than their predecessors, auto crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers—killing an average of seven teens every day in 2010. As a parent, that’s a pretty scary statistic.

Fortunately, you can play a significant role in keeping your teens safe on the road. No, you can’t ban them from behind the wheel, but you can set a good example and help educate the nation’s newest driving population about safe driving practices. Toyota understands how important parent involvement is, which is why they reach out to ‘rents as well (in this particular case, moms).

The first step in keeping your teen safe on the road is putting your phone, iPod, or other distracting devices away when you drive, demonstrating for your teen that texting and driving and other unsafe driving behaviors are NOT okay. It’s also important to talk with your teens—gals and guys—about safe driving. No, yelling and aggressively nagging is probably not the best approach (those teens sure love to rebel!), but instating a rule (and enforcing consequences) regarding distracted driving can help limit your teen’s dangerous driving habits.

Not sure how to broach the topic? Look to Toyota’s “Arrive in Style” campaign for tips. The May 2013 print issue of Teen Vogue has some great tips and discussion topics, delivered in a format your teen girl is more likely to respond to than a boring parental lecture.

If you miss out on May’s issue, don’t despair, because social media elements of the campaign will run through February 2014. Teen Vogue’s website and Facebook page will continue to offer important info, including stories and videos from the magazine’s readers (and their moms) discussing their commitment to safe driving. Watch some with your daughter, and take the opportunity to come up with your own special oath swearing to “Just Say No” to distracted driving. Needless to say, phones should be set aside while you talk with your teen about this potentially life-threatening topic.

Keep in mind that you are your teen’s number-one role model (whether they’re willing to admit it or not). Many of your teens’ peers are likely texting and driving or chatting on the phone behind the wheel, which means it’s more than important than ever that you provide an alternative example. By doing so, you’ll also keep yourself and your family safe—so it’s a clear win-win.