Parents Are Key and Need Support
Parents are key to developing safe teen drivers, but they may not have the tools and support they need to be effective, according to 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 skill development, such as scanning and speed management, that are needed to prevent crashes. This is why CHOP researchers have developed the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide to help parents supervise practice driving.
Parents play a vital role in teaching their teens to drive. Besides encouraging parents to download the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide suite of educational materials, here are some other action steps to follow:
- If you are a Driver 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. Encourage them to get involved in National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 15-21, 2017).
- 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 this website.
- 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.
Share these tools with parents for more effective supervised driving:
TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide
TeenDrivingPlan Goal Guide
TeenDrivingPlan Logging and Rating Tool