New guide helps parents teach teenagers safe driving habits

stockvault-hands-on-wheel141789The Safe Roads Alliance, Cenex and West Bend Mutual Insurance have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) to produce a new guide that provides parents and guardians with a simple, easy-to-follow plan designed to help teens to get the experience they need to be safe, smart drivers.

“Drivers between 16 and 19 years old are more than twice as likely to be involved in a crash as drivers in other age groups,” said Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. “Parents play a critical role in their children’s education. This guide encourages parents to expose teenagers to a variety of enhanced supervised driving experiences that will help them become knowledgeable and safe drivers.”

The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide is filled with information and lessons on driving basics, parental pointers, and licensing qualifications that are helpful to parents of new drivers. The guide is supplemented by the Safe Roads Alliance RoadReady mobile app, which can track the required supervised driving time of 50 hours, including 15 hours of night driving.

The enhanced Graduated Driver Licensing law took effect earlier this year in Minnesota. It increases the minimum number of hours teens must practice driving before licensure and requires a supervised driving log. It also requires all driver education programs to offer parent awareness classes which provide information on teen driving risks, laws, and the important role parents play in influencing teen safe driving behaviors.

West Bend President and CEO Kevin Steiner stated, “The skills outlined in this guide are meant to help teens learn to be better drivers. It is one of the many ways West Bend works to help Minnesota families.”

The guide focuses on the role of the parent in the teen driver education process and encourages parents and teens to drive together in a variety of weather conditions and unfamiliar settings, city and heavy traffic routes, and various times of day. According to a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia study, Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, teen drivers whose parents are highly involved in the teen driver education process were half as likely to get in a car crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving, and twice as likely to wear seatbelts.

As part of its commitment to safety education, CHS Inc. – and its Cenex® brand – also helped fund The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide through sponsorship. “Getting a driver’s license is an exciting moment in a teen’s life, but it demands a new level of responsibility. Practice and preparation are key components to new driver success,” said Akhtar Hussain, CHS refined fuels marketing manager. “Research tells us the single most important thing parents can do to help their teens stay safe on the road is to allow as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible. Driving with a parent builds a new driver’s confidence, and we hope this new resource will help parents and teens make the most of this time together.”

The free guide is available at driver licensing offices around the state. The RoadReady mobile app is available at the Apple Store.

Minnesota Teen Driver Facts

• Traffic crashes are the second leading killer of Minnesota teens. (In 2013, 33 teens ages 13-19 were killed in traffic crashes.)
• Teen drivers are over-represented in crashes due to factors like inexperience, distractions, speeding and taking risks. (In 2013, driver inattention/distraction was the leading contributing factor of crashes involving teen drivers at 20.5 percent.)
• The greatest crash risk occurs during the first months of teens driving independently. (In 2013, driver inexperience contributed to 12.9 percent of single-vehicle crashes involving drivers ages 16-19, compared to just 4.1 percent of drivers ages 20-23.)

September 1, 2015
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