Parents Are Key and Need Support
Parents are key to developing safe teen drivers, but they may not have the needed tools and support to be effective according to recent CHOP research. In a research brief describing the adolescent perspective on learning to drive, 87 percent of teens say they had a parent involved in teaching them to drive, with 4 in 10 teens reporting only being taught by a parent. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Research found that although parents can describe basic concepts their teen drivers need to master such as “paying attention” and “parking the car,” they tend not to mention specific driving skills needed to avoid crashing, such as scanning and speed management.
Parents play a vital role in teaching their teens to drive. Here are some action steps to help you support parents of young drivers:
- If you are a Driver’s Education Instructor: Consider holding parent orientations that demonstrate their involvement in the driver training process. Meet with parents after each driving lesson to review what their teen driver does well and what skills need to be developed during parent-supervised practice sessions.
- If you belong to an organization that supports parents: Think about hosting a parent learning event that introduces Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law concepts in your state and recommended minimum GDL provisions.
- If you are associated with a school: Offer resources and information about the importance of supervised practice driving to parents at an open house, through a mailing, or on the school's website. Let parents know about the free downloadable resources available on teendriversource.org and teendriving.statefarm.com.
- If you would like to advocate for political change: Consider GDL laws that require participation in a parent orientation to qualify for a teen’s driver’s permit, or design a program that can help local communities offer parent learning events. Use CHOP research and resources for validation and program development.
Useful Tools to Help You Get Started:
Check out our video commentary on how you can support parents in teaching their teens to drive.
Get involved in National Teen Driver Safety Week --
October 20-26, 2013.