Forgot your password?


To create an account to access your personal
My Account OR Dashboard, click REGISTER below.


New Provider Enrollment

To access on-line enrollment / new provider package, click ENROLL below.




Patient Question

What are some good safety tips for parents of teenage drivers?


Thomas K. Lee, MD

Associate Professor of Surgery
Chief, Pediatric Surgery Division
President, SBUH Medical Board
Expert Answer

Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of teen deaths in the United States. In our community on Long Island, despite the recent decrease in accident admissions among children and adolescents, motor vehicle accidents continue to be the major reason for injury among teens.

The high incidence of motor vehicle accidents among teenagers is caused by their poor ability to detect risks and hazards while they are driving, which leads to overestimation of their skill level.

Males are twice as likely as females to be killed in a car crash while they are teenagers. Teenagers are also overconfident. They believe they are expert drivers, and engage in dangerous driving habits like speeding, ignoring traffic lights, tailgating, driving in hazardous weather, and failing to yield. Teen drivers increase their chance of having a motor vehicle accident when carrying passengers. This is due to distractions, performance pressure from peers, and encouragement to breaking traffic rules.

Here, Thomas K. Lee, MD, our chief of pediatric surgery and a leader of the pediatric trauma service, with the help of pediatric nurse practitioner Michelle L. Ceo, RN, PNP, offers these tips for both parents/guardians and teens to effect safe driving on prom night:

Safety Tips for Parents/Guardians of Teenagers

  • Limit the amount of passengers that your teen will have in the car.
  • Encourage seatbelt use. Fifty-five percent of teens killed in motor vehicle accidents were not using seatbelts.
  • Know your teen's plans and where they're going to be throughout the night. Obtain contact information of who they are with and where they will be.
  • Keep in contact with your teen. Make sure that their phone is charged. Ask for phone calls throughout the day and night as they change their destinations.
  • Emphasize to your teenager that you are a phone call away and that you will pick them up wherever they are, at whatever time it is.

Safety Tips for the Teens

  • Do not let your friends drive drunk. Extreme alcohol consumption alone too frequently sends kids to the ER.
  • Plan ahead — make sure you have safe plans.
  • Do not accept drinks from someone you do not know.
  • If you leave your drink, discard it and get a new one.
  • Keep an eye on your driver to make sure they do not drink alcohol.
  • Keep a close eye on oncoming drivers. Impaired drivers tend to drive toward lights.
  • After the light turns green, wait a second before pulling into the intersections.
  • Drive on well-lit roads. The darkest dark, as the song says, leads to no place you ever want to go.
  • Keep the radio volume low enough so the driver can concentrate on getting to and from the fun.
  • Forget about texting or cellphone use when behind the wheel. Both are major distractions. That's why it's against the law.

Cellphone use by drivers can easily lead to sudden tragedy on the road, instead of a great night to remember. The tragic stories about motor vehicle accidents, even fatality collisions, are all too common.

Our pediatric surgeons coordinate the pediatric trauma service of Stony Brook Children's, and would prefer not to see kids having accidents and ending up in the ER at any time.

Make An Appointment

Important Note:

The Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians website is primarily an informational and educational resource. It should not be used in place of medical advice and recommendations you receive from your health care provider. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please seek the advice of your health care provider.

Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians provides marketing advice and consultation to the clinical Faculty associated with the University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs). It does not provide medical care directly or indirectly nor does it oversee, direct, manage or supervise the medical care provided by any of the individual Practices. The individual Practices are responsible for the medical care each Practice provides to its patients. Please note that the Practices listed below are separate University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs).