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Teen Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Teens And Tires: What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

By Staff Editor
Sep 13, 2014 - 9:41:39 AM

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( - Nearly 300,000 car crashes involving inexperienced drivers can be prevented each year with better driver's education, recent research shows. Teenagers often lack the essential knowledge and skills that can help keep them safe on the roads.

The Problem

Of the 2.2 million vehicle accidents per year, 12 percent are among inexperienced drivers and involve tire-related issues such as insufficient tire tread or improperly inflated tires, a number that is nearly three times higher than with experienced drivers. That's an accident every two minutes.

According to the survey commissioned by Michelin and the nonprofit FIA, the governing body for world motor sport, less than half of teens and their parents believe their driver's education program completely prepared the teens to drive. Only 16 states require tire safety information as part of driver's education, while only seven include tire safety information and require classroom time devoted to vehicle maintenance and tire safety.

Perhaps as a result, 27 percent of teens never check the condition of their tires; less than half check their tires monthly (the recommended frequency); and nearly three-quarters said their parents taught them about tire maintenance, although only around a third of parents consider themselves to be extremely knowledgeable about tire maintenance.

A Solution

Young drivers can take two easy, quick steps to help them avoid an accident. Tires are the only parts of a car that touch the road, so it makes sense that driving safety begins with tire maintenance.

That's why you should check the tread by putting a penny in it upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, the tires are too worn. Next, check the tire pressure with a gauge when they're cold and be sure they're inflated to the number posted inside the car door.

To address the safety gap, the FIA and Michelin North America launched Beyond the Driving Test, to raise awareness of tire maintenance and safety. They're mobilizing parental involvement, encouraging peer education and working to update Department of Motor Vehicles' education curricula. To those ends, they created a downloadable glove box guide with important tips and a new series featuring popular teen YouTube stars sharing tire safety tutorials. They're also calling for all 50 states to include tire safety information in their official driver's education materials by the year 2020.

Learn More

For further facts about the research findings, as well as to access educational resources, visit


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