Jessica Mathews /

A new online resource packet aims to help parents talk to their teens about the importance of driving safely.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and its traffic safety partners have launched the Teen Driving Parental Toolkit, a collaboration between the OHSP, AAA Michigan, and the Michigan departments of State and Health & Human Services. It provides information and resources that parents can utilize to help teach their teens safe-driving habits.

OHSP Director Katie Bower says motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens 15 to 18 years-old in the United States. She says because of their lack of experience, teen drivers are at a greater risk of being killed or injured in a crash.

According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in 2021 there were 483,132 licensed drivers aged 15 to 20, which represents 6.7% of Michigan drivers.

In 2021, teens and young adults aged 15 to 20 accounted for 9.1 percent (103) of all traffic fatalities in Michigan, with 63.1 percent (65) of those deaths being the driver. That is an increase over 2020 when that same age group accounted for 7.3 percent (79) of all traffic fatalities, with 51.9 percent (41) of those deaths being the driver.

The Office says risk-taking behaviors, such as speeding or distracted driving, and inexperience are the primary factors contributing to teen-driver fatalities.

A link to the toolkit is provided.