Teens and Driving Safety


“Even if you have a very responsible teen, the fact that they don’t have experience driving makes them a bigger risk. Driving is dangerous for all teens, and parents can require them to prove they are ready,” says CHOC pediatrician Dr. Alexandra Roche. She suggests a teen is ready to drive when he or she agrees to participate in a driving safety contract, is maintaining good grades at school, and has proven to be responsible with things like chores, a pet and school tasks such as planning a project.


“Many things can cause teens to be distracted, like loud music, cell phones, eating in the car and having others in the car. The risk of having an accident is much greater when passengers are in the car,” says Dr. Roche. Limiting distractions and being prepared help keep young drivers more safe, says Dr. Roche. “Make sure you have everything ready for your trip before getting in the car. Know where you are going and how to get there before leaving. Know where your money, driver’s license and other important items are, and put your phone on silent. And make sure that seatbelt has clicked.”


Dr. Roche says research has found the risk of a car crash is higher among teens ages 16-19 than any other age group. “Other high-risk situations include driving on the weekends as well as the evenings,” she says. “It’s important for parents to review safe driving tips with their teens multiple times. It helps for teens to take a safe-driving course beyond the required driver’s education. Young drivers should always anticipate unexpected situations and learn to drive defensively. You may control your car but you can’t control other drivers on the road.”

Dr. Roche - CHOC Pediatric Physician

Dr. Alexandra Roche, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is on staff at the CHOC Primary Care Clinic in Orange. Dr. Roche completed her residency at CHOC. She focuses much of her patient practice on obesity and eating disorders in adolescents.

Dr. Roche’s philosophy of care: “I think every child has the potential to be a stellar human being and I want to help them reach their potential in any way I can.”

New York Medical College in New York


Dr. Alexandra Roche

Tips For Teens to Avoid Distracted Driving

If teens didn’t need another reason not to text and drive, police across the region will crack down on distracted drivers in April as part of national Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The California Highway Patrol, state Office of Traffic Safety and more than 200 local law enforcement agencies statewide will be out in force, ticketing drivers caught texting, holding cell phones to their heads, or driving while appearing distracted in any way.

Teens boy in the driver's seat of a car

Helpful Tips for New Drivers

Happy teen girls

Your teenager has earned their driver’s license, hooray! However, before you hand over the keys, be mindful that the first six months after getting a license are the most dangerous times for any driver and risk remains high during the first year. Moreover, one in four crash fatalities in the United States involves a 16-to-24-year-old driver.

CHOC Children’s, in partnership with State Farm, is committed to helping end these tragedies. Check out these reminders below, to help educate your teens and ensure they are safe on the road.

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

The Role of Teens in their Health Care Decisions
Many teens are able to manage much of their own health care, from giving themselves injections to taking medications. They can speak to their physician and research on their own.

Kids and Hormones
Every little boy and girl grows up and goes through the stage of life called puberty. Hormones are responsible for many of the changes that they go through.

Teens and Drugs
Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse by teens is the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S. One of the most commonly abused drugs is oxycodone.

Subscribe to KidsHealth