Rules of the Road
obey traffic laws for safety

Obey Traffic Laws

The rules of the road vary depending on the state in which you are driving. No matter the state, it’s crucial to obey traffic laws to help prevent motor vehicle crash-related deaths and injuries. Key topics we address in this section of Teen Driver Source are speeding, seat belt use, and impaired driving, including the new laws regarding legal marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal.  If every motor vehicle occupant used a seat belt on every trip, every driver followed speed limits, and no person got behind the wheel while impaired, thousands of lives could be saved each year. Teens need to undertsand that obeying traffic laws keeps them and their fellow road users safe.


In 1966, the U.S. enacted the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Pub.L. 89–563) to empower the federal government to set and administer new safety standards for motor vehicles and road traffic safety.

  • 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes in 2015. An estimated 2.18 million additional passengers were injured.

  • Of the young drivers with known seat belt use, 54 percent of those who died in crashes in 2015 were restrained at the time of the crashes. During this same year, the nationwide seat belt use was 88.5 percent.

  • In 2015, 1,886 15- to 20-year-old drivers died in crashes -- a 9 percent increase from 2014.

  • In 2015, 26 percent of young drivers ages 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 g/dL or higher; 80 percent of those young drivers had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. It is illegal for anyone in the U.S. under age 21 to drink any alcohol.

  • In 2015, an additional 975 passengers of young drivers and 1,841 occupants of other vehicles and non-occupants were also killed in young driver crashes.

  • In 2015, 32 percent of 15- to 20-year-old and 21- to 24-year-old male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding, the highest among the age groups represented.

Pick Your Practice

With a couple of clicks, think about what skills you would like to practice first as a learner driver, and we’ll point you to videos and tips on how to practice them. Take this online driving quiz to Pick Your Practice!

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