Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. That is why we need to take teen driver safety seriously. There are many tools available to help keep teens safe on the road. The Graduated Driver License program, parent involvement and awareness are important aspects to tackling this issue.
The Graduated Driver License program was implemented by the State of Tennessee in 2001. This program requires three stages to obtain an unrestricted driver’s license. The learner’s permit is a supervised driving stage requiring a written test for permit issuance. Next is an intermediate driving stage requiring a driving test for licensure. This stage has two levels – restricted and unrestricted. It was implemented to give young drivers the ability to drive within safe guidelines while they continue to gain experience. The final stage is a full privilege, standard driver’s license. You must be 18 or older to obtain this Class D license.
Although the State enforces these laws to counter the inexperience and immaturity of teen drivers, parents are a key influence in their young adult’s safe driving habits. For example, it is proven that cell phone use while driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. In addition, a third of teens self-report texting or emailing while driving, a deadly distraction for all drivers. However, when asked to choose the people who would be able to influence their use of a cell phone while driving, 66% of teens said their parents would.* Parental involvement is a main component in keeping everyone safe on the roads.
Teen driver safety is an issue that affects the entire community. Speeding, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and drug use aggravate this problem. Laws, insurance discounts, parents and friends all work to combat this problem and keep our teens safe. It is important for the entire community to raise awareness and support for programs that guard against accidents involving teenagers.
Hyundai of Cool Springs has several tools available to families to enhance the safety of young drivers. They have Parent/Driver contracts available at their dealership. These contracts contain sections regarding passenger limits, limited daily hours of driving, talk/text pledges, and other important areas for agreement. They are available for pickup Monday – Saturday 8am-8pm at 201 Comtide Court, Franklin TN 37067. They also host an annual Safe Driving Experience which has several hands-on exhibits to influence young drivers to be safe. Last year’s event hosted a Seat Belt Convincer, Drunk Driving Course, Governor’s Highway Safety Office liaison, insurance discounts, and other activities to facilitate family discussions about safe driving habits. Look for information coming soon about this year’s event.
In the meantime, remind your teen driver about safe driving habits. Utilize the restricted license guidelines to encourage good driving habits such as defensive driving, road hazard response, speed maintenance and remaining alert and undistracted. As parents, stay involved in the learning process required to be a good driver. Encourage your teenager to be a safe passenger as well. Buckle Up!
*Information obtained from www.teendriversource.org
Frankly Speaking – Teen Driver Safety (94FM The Fish Audio Post)