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Parents urged to get involved during Teen Driver Safety Week

In recognition of the fact that teens are inexperienced behind the wheel and need additional time to develop safe driving skills to manage higher-risk situations -- driving during nighttime hours, driving with passengers, etc. -- all 50 states have introduced what are known as graduated driver licensing, or GDL, programs.

In general, GDL programs grant driving privileges to teen drivers in three separate phases: a permit phase (age 16), an initial licensing phase (ages 17-18) and a full licensing phase (ages 18 and up). While the phases are more restrictive in the beginning, they slowly but steadily grant teen drivers more privileges to match their progress behind the wheel.

To date, these GDL programs have proven remarkably effective. In fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting "traffic safety as a national priority," has determined that GDL programs are directly responsible for a 20 to 40 percent decline in fatal car accidents among teens.

As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through tomorrow, the GHSA is calling on parents to not only help enforce these GDL programs, but also to take a more active role in managing their teen's driving habits.

"GDL isn't just a state or police program, it's a parent program," said the deputy executive director for the GHSA. "When parents understand how and why GDL works to address their novice drivers' crash risk and partner with their teens to enforce the proven provisions associated with these programs, good things happen."

Indeed, the GHSA indicated that previous research has found the following concerning teen drivers with parents who establish a firm set of rules and manage their driving in a proactive manner:

  • They are 50 percent more likely to wear a seat belt
  • They are 50 percent less likely to be involved in a car crash
  • They are 71 percent less likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • They are 30 percent less likely to talk on a cell phone while driving

Here's hoping that more parents choose to become active participants in their teens driving, perhaps taking them to additional safety programs or executing a teen-parent driving agreement.

What are your thoughts on this idea? Are you doing anything for National Teen Driver Safety Week?

Those who have been injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers here in New Jersey should understand that they can seek the justice they deserve and that they should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney.

Source: Forbes, "Teens with parents who set driving rules 71% less likely to drive drunk, GHSA says," Tanya Mohn, Oct. 22, 2013

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