Category Archive: Parents

Parents and Teens Both Get into the Safe Driving Groove

It is every teen’s dream to get that learner’s permit in their hand. After all, driving equates to freedom, doesn’t it? But let’s face it teenagers, we don’t know everything there is to know about driving a car. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death in our age bracket? That’s a pretty scary thought!

The recent article in the Cincinnati Post about teen drivers is sort of eye-opening. Sure, we know to buckle our seat belts and make sure to use our turn signals and such. But who is going to really teach us about what to do if our brakes lock or how to get out of a dangerous skid? That is not exactly something our parents could or know how to teach us.

Yeah, they preach to us about safety on the road and tell us in theory how to get out of a dangerous driving situation, but until we actually experience it, all that talk is in one ear and out the other right? We humor the parents and we lead ourselves into a false sense of security. We think that those crashes will never happen to us. But the reality of it all is that we COULD be that next crash just waiting to happen.

Car manufacturer Toyota came up with a great driving awareness program called “Toyota Driving Expectations.” The catch is that we teenagers have to take the class with our parents! Now before all the grumbling starts, this class is quite an eye-opener for both us and the “adults.” They get put through their paces just as much as we do.

Each of us gets to experience our own driving courses; parents have different distractions thrown at them like ringing cell phones and fiddling with the radio, things we all do every day. Teenagers get to learn some defensive maneuvers and how to avoid crashes. Believe it or not, it’s interesting and fun to experience this stuff with your parents. We all learn something and have a better respect for each other’s driving abilities. And guess what? Parents will feel a little more secure and willing to let you drive!

Be sure to talk with them about the “Toyota Driving Expectations” program and visit the website at Toyota Teen Drive 365 to see if there is a class near you.

According to new scientific studies, the area of the brain that controls impulsive behavior doesn’t reach maturity until the age of 25. This has caused many people to reconsider the age that teens should be allowed to drive. Currently, many states allow teens as young as 16 the right to drive. However, statistics have proved that 16 year olds are dangerous drivers, have the highest auto related death rates, and more teens die while riding in vehicles driven by 16 year olds. What is interesting is that even though many parents and politicians feel that 16 is too young to drive, there is a certain degree of hesitancy when it comes to changing existing laws.

Some people look to the fact that many parents are tired of chaperoning their teens and look forward to the day when they can manage some of the responsibility of transportation themselves. But, ask any parent who has lost a child in a teen related auto crash, and they will quickly tell you that they would gladly chauffer their teen if it meant having their child back in their lives again.

Nearly all states have implemented changes that affect the way teens drive. Some of these changes include limiting the amount of passengers teens may have in the vehicle or decreasing the amount of time teens can drive alone. Nevertheless, though these rules have been put in place to help keep teens safe, they are frequently not enforced.

There is often a misconception behind the reasons why teens are involved in so many fatal crashes. The fatal crashes are often mistakenly blamed on alcohol or drugs. However, as current studies have shown, it is a matter of brain maturity, and not excessive teen drinking that contributes to the high rate of deaths associated with teen drivers.

When people put pressure on politicians to raise the drinking age, changes were made that ensured the drinking age would be 21. This has been a positive change that has undoubtedly saved many lives. Unfortunately, it seems that it may take more fatal crashes before politicians realize that the best way to protect teens from the dangers of driving is to similarly raise the driving age.

Read more driver education news in the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

Keep Teens Driving on the Straight and Narrow

Having clear-cut rules about the family car and/or driving privileges in general seems like a smart plan for teenagers. After all, most of our parents just tell us to be careful and then impose restrictions after the fact for some indiscretion. Having to guess what the family rules are sometimes can be compared to a weather report – partly cloudy.

There is this recent news story about parents setting rules before we get into the car. Well, of course, we would love to be free to do what we want, but at least if we knew the rules in advance, we could not grumble about not knowing that we did something wrong! And parents – be consistent with us teenagers ok? We’re confused enough as it is without the parental unit changing their minds.

Some parents really think about our driving and come up with a lot of do’s and don’ts for us while others sort of make it up as they go along. Parents take the advice of this teenager – we will push every limit possible when it comes to our driving privileges so you better really, really think about the rules you want to set!

Here are some of the most common rules that we teenagers are familiar with: obeying speed limits, not having more passengers in the car than allowed, and no drinking. However, there are a few things that we are going to do unless you tell us or catch us doing them. We are likely going to use our cell phones and drive at the same time. The same goes for eating or drinking a soda. We have also been known to change the radio station with one hand or text message a friend behind the wheel of a car. Many times, parents do not think of these things and these are what can get us in trouble.

Now other teenagers are probably yelling at me for telling all our secrets, but come on! Why get in trouble for those same things later when we can avoid doing them now. Besides, no matter how much the parental unit may rain on our parades, they mean well and only want the best for us. Add the fatality record of teenager drivers and the parents can definitely back up their case. Why don’t we give them a break for a change and actually follow the rules – well, these rules anyway.

This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

This Driver’s Ed Program Gives Teens a Heart-Pounding Experience

You think you know it all when it comes to being behind the wheel of a car. However, after a lesson or two with this new driver’s education program for teens, you will figure out that maybe you didn’t know so much after all. The kicker is that teenagers, after some heart pounding moments, are enthusiastic about this program called Driver’s Edge.

It was started by a former race care driver named Jeff Payne. He mentions the fact that teens could ace Driver’s Ed but still have no clue how to handle a car during stressful times. With Driver’s Edge, teenagers are put through their paces, experiencing difficult driving situations. What do you do when your car goes into a skid? Many teenagers don’t really know and will overcompensate, sometimes causing an accident on the road.

Driver’s Edge will help you anticipate your moves in stressful situations. They will teach you how to carefully execute out of a skid. You will learn anti-lock braking and techniques on panic braking. Evasive lane-changing maneuvers are also on the agenda. It all sounds too cool doesn’t it, sort of like a James Bond or Fast and the Furious kind of thing. But it is real life and it will likely get your adrenaline pumping a bit.

While you would be behind the wheel of the car, a former race car driver and licensed instructor is beside you the entire time. Their job is to ensure that you don’t panic when faced with different stressful driving scenarios. They want you to act instinctively without over thinking it. Trial by fire in a controlled setting is the best way for teens to learn how to handle themselves behind the wheel of a car and avoid accidents. And we all know how the parents are going to get if that happens!

Read more driver education news in the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

Car surfing

Car Surfing claims the life of Nashville Teen

Police say Shawn Nipper, 16, was car surfing on McGavock Pike in Two Rivers Park on a Saturday night when he died.

Car surfing is where you stand on the roof of a moving car and try to keep your balance while the vehicle is moving. Police say it’s one of the most dangerous stunts you can pull with a car.

The victim’s family says this so-called car surfing is a dangerous, growing trend that parents need to be aware of before it claims more young lives.

This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

Reducing teen crash rates

Reducing Driving Hours Saves Teen Lives

Canada’s Traffic Injury Research Foundation announced that by limiting a teenage driver’s time behind the wheel of a car, and reducing the number of people in his or her vehicle, accident rates among teen drivers can be reduced by 20 percent.

Researchers compared 2002 crash data amongst 16-year-old drivers in both Oregon and Ontario, Canada. Oregon has restrictions on unsupervised driving at night, while Ontario did not have any restrictions at that time.

Accidents among 16-year-old drivers who were at the wheel of a vehicle where injuries and fatalities occurred were 20 percent fewer in Oregon than Ontario, giving strong evidence that Graduated Drivers Licensing programs (GDL) can make a big difference.

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among young people, killing around 6,000 drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. According to safety authorities, the lack of driving skills and experience make teenage drivers more prone to accidents.

“Teens who obey traffic rules and regulations, follow GDL regulations, and have actively involved parents are much less likely to crash,” commented J. Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which sponsored the study.

Licensing laws that put restrictions on young drivers vary from state to state, and some are less demanding than others, as was the case in Oregon, with stronger GDL laws than Ontario.

Oregon prevents unsupervised driving by new drivers between midnight and 5 a.m. and prohibits passengers under age 20 from being in a car driven by an entry-level driver during the first six months of receiving a driver’s license.

According to Dan Mayhew, vice president of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, the findings, based on law enforcement accident data, imply that “the restrictions placed in Oregon are effective in keeping the crash rates down.”

Another separate phone study conducted with 1,000 teenage drivers in Oregon and British Columbia found that 30 percent of teens that had not been involved in an accident also ever violated the passenger rules during the first six months of their intermediary stage.

Sixteen percent of young people who had accidents also said they had not violated the restrictions during the same period.

The findings show that teens that were involved in accidents were more inclined to break driving laws. In Oregon, 33 percent of teenagers who were involved in accidents admitted to receiving a traffic ticket, compared to 13 percent of teens that received tickets but had not crashed.

Mayhew commented that the GDL laws are “not a panacea” but work as an effective tool in reducing crashes among beginning drivers.

The National Safety Commission and Lowest Price Traffic School offer safe teen driving resources for new drivers and their parents. Find out more about our monthly newsletter for teen drivers and the Driver Education Guide for Parents.