One third of fatalities involve teens

At Risk Teen Drivers are STOPPED in Michigan

AAA of Michigan and the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association have brought a great program to 27 counties in the state aimed at risky teenage drivers. This program, called STOPPED, or Sheriffs Telling Our Parents & Promoting Educated Drivers, was created in order to help prevent many of the fatal accidents that young drivers are at a high risk for being involved in. The goal of the program is to address reckless behind-the-wheel behavior by involving parents, as well as law enforcement, in the ongoing process of learning to drive in Michigan.

Many teens feel that once they pass drivers’ education and receive their permit, that they are declared safe drivers. This certainly isn’t the case, and is proven year after year as fatalities involving teenage drivers and passengers increase across the country. What this program does is help avoid these tragedies by catching risky behavior before it gets out of hand. Parents who do not ride with their children while they are driving may not get a chance to see if there are any risky behaviors going on in the vehicle, such as having a large number of passengers. This is where the STOPPED program comes into play.

Vehicles enrolled in the free and voluntary program are registered in a database. If a driver under the age of 21 is pulled over in that vehicle, for any reason, a completed notification card is sent home to the parents. Information such as why they were pulled over, where they were, and how many passengers were in the vehicle are all relayed to the parents of the new driver. This allows the parents to address these issues immediately, in an effort to reduce any further risk-taking behavior while driving.

The pilot program started in March of 2005, with just seven counties statewide participating. With the recent addition of 20 more counties in the State of Michigan, it is quickly becoming a success. Though the program is voluntary, many parents are finding this a great addition to the other safety precautions they have taken in making sure their children are safe on the road. Now if only other states would follow the lead of Michigan, and do their part to help cut risky driving behavior in teens.