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Parents Play an Important Role in Protecting their Teen Driver

Date Posted: Monday, October 19th, 2015
Categories:  Office of Highway Safety Safety and Homeland Security

Do you have a young driver in your house? Do they think they are a safe driver? The Office of Highway Safety (OHS), along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announce the “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18 – 24, 2015. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road. “Even though your teens might be gaining some independence and getting older, protecting them from harm shouldn’t stop now,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

“The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign will give parents the tools they need to keep their teen drivers safe.” The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers and provides parents the tools needed to talk with their teens about the rules of the road.

The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:

1. No Drinking and Driving – almost one out of five (19 percent) of the young drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally buy or possess alcohol.

2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – 64 percent of all the young (13- to 19-year-old) passengers of teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013 weren’t restrained.

3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. – The age group of 15 to 19 years old has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use and involved in a fatal crash. In 2013, 318 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.

4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.

5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S. In 2014, Delaware lost 20 teens in fatal crashes. There are over 33,000 licensed teen drivers in Delaware. Teen drivers account for five percent of all drivers in Delaware yet are involved in approximately 15 percent of all reportable crashes in Delaware. Crash rates go up after a teen completes the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) requirements, emphasizing the importance of parental supervision and guidance of teen drivers for several years.

The Delaware Teen Driver Task Force has developed several resources for parents and teens to encourage a dialog of safe driving and rules of the road. These resources are available year round and are being highlighted during Teen Driver Safety Week.

• A subcommittee was created to update the driver’s education curriculum in Delaware high schools. The curriculum has been updated to meet the National Content Standards for driver’s education curriculum, meet the Common Core State Standards initiative and to include new traffic laws. The new curriculum will ensure continuity, measurement, and accountability for educators and novice teen drivers learning in Delaware.

• The Office of Highway Safety created a Graduated Driver’s License Parent Orientation Program to educate parents of teen drivers about their responsibilities under the GDL law. http://www.ohs.delaware.gov/OHSGDL/story.html

• The DMV coordinated the Parent Supervised Driving Program and RoadReady app for parents and teens. This year theme is It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving. http://www.theparentssuperviseddrivingprogram.com/states/de.html

• The SmartDrive Foundation is conducting in school education programs such as their Driving With Intention program, PROMise program and Distraction & Reaction program. www.smartdriveusa.org

• The Delaware Teen Driver Task Force released a video titled “Crossing the Line”. The video tells the story of a 2012 fatal crash involving 17 year-old Andre Smith who was was killed in the crash on April 12, 2012 on Route 896 in Middletown. The video has become part of the revised Driver’s Education Curriculum. The video can be viewed and shared on the Office of Highway Safety Arrive Alive DE YouTube channel http://youtu.be/RLiFdKFOkpU.

On September 19th and September 26th, The Office of Highway Safety, along with the state’s Teen Driver Task Force and other partners, hosted two teen driver safety events for parents and teens. Parents and teens participated in several interactive stations together to build their driving relationship in a positive way. The event was open to students from all Delaware high schools regardless of event location. In addition, students were entered into a drawing for a scholarship if they attend one of the events and complete all of the activities. A total of 6 scholarships were awarded. Three scholarships were given away at each event. First place was awarded $1,500, second place was awarded $1,000 and third place was awarded $500. The 6 scholarship winners were from Sussex Technical High School, Sussex Central High School, St. Mark’s High School, William Penn High School and St. George’s Technical High School.

For more information and resources for teen drivers and the Graduated Driver License visit OHS website at www.ohs.delaware.gov/TeenDriving.shtml, NHTSA website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers or visit www.teendriving.dmv.de.gov.

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