If the thought of your teen getting behind the wheel scares you, one look at the statistics will make that feeling really hit home: In 2010, more than 4,500 young drivers were involved in fatal car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It's an ongoing problem. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Research Institute reports that one in five ninth- through 11th-graders has been involved in at least one crash as a passenger in the past year. Research from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety is just as alarming. It found that drivers aged 16 to 17 are involved in seven times as many crashes per mile driven than drivers in their 40s, 50s or 60s.
In 2007, Congress enacted National Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness about the issue. During the third week of every October (the 14-20 this year), several safety organizations launch programs to encourage safe driving for teen drivers and passengers.
One week isn't enough, however, leading several automakers to offer in-car monitoring and safety systems that can help your teen stay safe behind the wheel.