Before we begin to talk to you about driving, SmartDrive would like to share with you highlights from a meeting dealing with Driver Education curriculum. In attendance:
- Delaware Driver Safety Education Association
- Delaware Office of Highway Safety
- Delaware State Police
- Maryland Association of Sheriff’s
- State Farm Insurance
- The SmartDrive Foundation
Among the topics, a discussion of the critical role of parents in influencing teen driving behaviors. All of these entities asked that we share with you this information. Remember, Laws regarding teen drivers are to be considered by parents as broad guidelines. Parents, as the keeper of the keys to the car and moral conscience, should exercise their own more stringent rules with their usually inexperienced Teen Drivers
- Work to develop and improve your young driver’s skills by scheduling time to drive with them. Create opportunities to provide more supervised driving time for the young driver, so as to broaden their experience while having a experience driver to assist them in getting through potentially hazardous situations.
- If grades are unsatisfactory — take the keys! Studies show that irresponsible driving and poor school performance are related — that is why insurance companies offer discounts to good students.
- Set curfews for your children. They live in your house and are driving your property. For example, just because a young driver is permitted by law to drive after 11 at night does not mean they should drive after 11 at night for a variety of reasons. As one group member said, “Nothing good happens after 11 at night.
- Forbid driving and texting, driving and talking on the cell phone, and eating when behind the wheel – these activities all are significant and potentially deadly distractions for ALL DRIVERS, not just Teens.
- Other distractions include passengers – especially friends and other peers of the driver. If you do allow your Teen Driver to have passengers in the car, teach them to be assertive in managing what goes on in that car. Passenger management is a particularly difficult skill for Teen Drivers who are so vulnerable to peer pressure – empower them with skills to manage.
- Young drivers often begin their days early; many are awake at 5:30 or 6 am for early athletic practices and other activities. And they do not get to sleep until 11 pm or later – especially when engaged in social media under the covers.That leaves them sleep deprived and often result in “crashing” on weekends in an attempt to “catch-up.” However, please know that the effects of drowsy driving are equivalent to those of driving under the influence. Some studies have shown being awake for 16-18 or 20 hours straight has the same effect on reaction times and decision making as serving of alcohol.
These are your children. They are your most precious gifts; do not hesitate to be a real parent.
Here is an interview with a leader of the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition talking to parents about their responsibilities for the Teen Drivers in their families.
CREDIT: BestofNJ.com, NJ Teen Safe Driving Coalition Keeping Teen Drivers Safe