2021 National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 21, 2021


In the Driver’s Seat: Talk to Teens About the Importance of Driving Safety During National Teen Driver Safety Week

Montpelier, Vermont — National Teen Driver Safety Week runs through October 23, making this week the perfect opportunity to talk with teens about safe driving habits. This year, the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) is teaming up with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to empower school leaders, sport administrators, coaches, parents, family members and fans attending events to discuss the importance of driving safety with their young drivers and emulate good behaviors themselves.


A Vermont teen’s decision to obtain a Learner’s Permit or a Junior Driver’s License in carries with it, one of life’s greatest social responsibilities. These young Vermonters are committing to maintaining a safe operating vehicle that meets Vermont’s emissions standards, carrying liability insurance, and always obeying the rules of the road and adopting habits that eliminate driving distractions.


“Parents and adult role models in our schools play critical roles in teen driver safety in their ability to consistently demonstrate and communicate important driving safety information,” said Bob Johnson, Associate Executive Director of the VPA and overseer of interscholastic activities.  “New teen drivers are still gaining experience behind the wheel, which increases the chance of dangerous situations for the teen and others around them.”


At championships this year, fans can expect to be reminded of good roadway behaviors.  Student-athletes and their peers will have opportunities to take a safe driving pledge.  Additionally, creative, and timely messaging will be provided to schools and their social followers that will encourage safe driving now and in the future.


“Our partnership with VTrans will allow us to facilitate conversations with teen drivers about risky driving behaviors that can lead to fatal consequences,” said Jay Nichols, Executive Director of the VPA.  “By sharing our own driving experiences, we can collectively help teen drivers make smart choices and actions to stay safe on the road.”


Risks for Teens include:

  1. Impaired Driving: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. However, nationally, 16% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 had alcohol in their system. Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep teens from driving safely: marijuana affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task and marijuana slows the reaction time. Remind teens that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including illicit or prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication — can have deadly consequences. Let teens know this behavior won’t be tolerated.
  2. Seat Belt Safety: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet, too many teens aren’t buckling up. More than half (55%) of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in crashes in 2019 were unbuckled.


  1. Distracted Driving: Cell phone use while driving is more than just risky — it can be deadly. Even if they are stopped at a light, remind teens that posting on social media while driving is unacceptable and illegal. Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, eating, or drinking while driving are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.


  1. Speed Limits: Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who are less experienced.


  1. Passengers: Passengers in a teen’s vehicle can lead to disastrous consequences. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.


REMEMBER: In Vermont, during the first three months of operation with a Junior Driver’s License, one must drive alone OR with at least one (1) front seat passenger who is a licensed and unimpaired parent or guardian OR driver education instructor OR individual 25 years of age or older.  During the second three months of operation under a Junior Driver’s License, one may begin transporting family members. After holding a Junior Driver’s License for six months, there are not restrictions.  However, a driver is never allowed to transport more passengers than there are safety belts.

To take the VPA’s Safe Driving pledge click here: https://vpaonline.org/traffic-safety/.

Follow the VPA on Twitter @VTPrincipals and VPA Sports @vpasports.