What Today’s Graduates Know That We Didn’t

Today’s graduates live in a world with more opportunities and dangers than we could have ever imagined, but, with change comes possibility. Parents and teens, take a moment to consider what we knew then and what we know now, and ask yourself, ‘why shouldn’t this generation have a safer future than ever before?’.  

The 80’s

Just over 30 years ago 19-year-olds in New York were legally able to consume alcohol, and wearing a seatbelt was suggested, but not mandatory. High school teenagers learned about safe driving practices in school and through word of mouth. Cars didn’t come equipped with backup cameras or navigation, but if you were lucky you had a cassette player.

Fast Forward to Present Day

It’s an irrefutable truth that today’s teens are dependent, even obsessed, with technology. Many fear that today’s youth will enter adulthood with inadequate interpersonal skills, having experienced much of life via a social feed on their Facebook/Snapchat page, but, it’s also possible that they will evolve into the most prepared and educated generation of young adults to date.

Thirty years ago parents had many of the same questions and fears that today’s parents do, “How do I tell if my teen is on drugs?” “How do I encourage my teen to drive safely?”. Yesterday’s teenagers also shared many of the uncertainties that today’s youth do, “What do I do if my friend is driving drunk?” “Is it true teen drivers are really more likely to be involved in a crash?”. These topics can be uncomfortable for parents and teens to talk about, and many years ago many of these questions went unanswered. There’s no way of knowing how many lives could have been saved had we known then, what we know now.

Thanks to today’s technology parents and their teen children have more resources available than ever before. Automakers are creating vehicles designed to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving. Developers have created apps for teens that allow them to quickly notify or contact family/friends if they are in danger. Information is constantly streaming and shared, promoting safe driving practices in a language and context teens understand and relate to.

To this year’s graduates, congratulations on your achievements and best wishes on your future endeavors. You are just beginning your journey, but the decisions you make today will be a part of what defines the future ‘you,’ and the society you live in. Your age group is more likely to be hurt or killed in a crash than any other demographic, but you can change that. Drive distraction free, never drive impaired, take your responsibility as a citizen seriously, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. You can create the new ‘norm.’ Start today by taking a pledge to drive distraction free, and share with your friends!

To the parents of teens, staying up-to-date with the latest teen trends is nearly impossible. We regularly post blogs and share information to help make life a little easier, and hopefully a lot safer, for families in our community. ‘Like’ us on Facebook to receive our latest updates. We also offer a free in-school presentation which helps to educate teens about the dangers of distracted driving. Since 2011 we’ve shared our message with thousands of teens across New York. For more information click here.

Resources for teens and parents of teens: