Six Programs that Help Reduce Teen Crashes
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Six Programs that Help Reduce Teen Crashes

Monday, April 10, 2017By Richard Alexander

A problem shared by parents and state administrators alike is how to improve teen driving safety. Fortunately, states often share information about programs that work—and don’t work—enabling us all to make steady progress toward protecting our young drivers.

Car crashes kill more teenagers in the U.S. than any other cause. The lack of teen driving experience, along with feelings of invincibility, sometimes leads teen drivers to injury and death. This is a nationwide problem that we all must address.

Every state has a state highway safety office charged with improving traffic safety within state lines. One of the ways these offices share information is through the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit organization that “[p]romote[s] traffic safety as a national priority.”

In recent years, the GHSA compiled a list of six areas states were pursuing to improve teen driving safety:

  • strengthening graduated driver’s licensing laws;
  • ensuring that police understand those laws;
  • helping parents to understand and enforce those laws;
  • strengthening driver’s education and training programs;
  • helping teens to understand and address driving risks; and
  • working with the media to cover driving safety issues relevant to teens.

You can learn more about these six initiatives below.

Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws

Did you know that graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) laws have led to a substantial reduction in teen driver crashes? These laws require young driver’s to obtain their licenses using a three-step, graduated program. With each stage and the commensurate experience it brings, new drivers obtain more driving privileges. Research has shown that these laws work: they are associated with drops in teen crashes between 20 and 40 percent.

The Police and Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws

States also try to improve law enforcement’s knowledge and enforcement of GDL laws. The police play a key role in enforcing GDL laws. That’s why it’s so important that they understand why the laws are important and how they work to reduce teen crashes. Teens notice when they are pulled over and ticketed. This sends a strong message that police agencies take the laws seriously.

Parents and Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws

Parents play an obvious role in helping to combat unsafe teen driving. But to be effective, they must first understand the graduated driver’s licensing system, which often looks very different than when they were learning to drive.

Researchers have examined different parental attitudes toward teen driving. The most effective approach at getting results is known as the “authoritative” approach. This means that parents should “maintain some control, [but] also give their teens enough structured support to allow them to make good choices.”

The approach works. When parents use the authoritative approach to teen driving, their kids are “half as likely to crash, 71% less likely to drive intoxicated, and 30% less likely to use a cell phone when driving.” The bottom line? Learn about the GDL laws in your state, and use an authoritative parenting approach when it comes to teen driving.

Driver’s Education and Training

In California, completing a licensed driver’s education program is required for drivers under the age of 18. Because teens are becoming independent thinkers, it is critical that they receive accurate information when they are learning to drive and formulating their opinions about safe driving practices.

Teens and Driving Risks

Some of the most effective programs designed to improve teen driving safety go out of their way to involve teenagers in their efforts. States and schools can aid in this effort by designing programs in which teens play a substantial role in developing and distributing ideas and information, using schools and social media as hubs for communications.

Media Coverage

The media can also play a meaningful role in helping to improve teen driving safety. By serving up stories with local news hooks and recent research, media organizations can help raise awareness of the dangers of teen driving, along with potential solutions.

Working together, teens, parents, law enforcement, and the media can help to reduce unnecessary teen driving-related deaths.

No one wants to be in a car crash no matter what the cause. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes occur. If you need the advice of an experienced accident lawyer, contact the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP right away at 888.777.1776. Call today, as delay may harm your case.

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