Teen Driver Safety

Where to Start for Teen Drivers? With Parents

At CIRP@CHOP, we explore the behavioral aspects of strengthening this bond between parents and teens. From teens, we frequently hear that they take cues from their parents for what is appropriate driving behavior. Likewise, parents express concerns about not knowing where to start to help their teens become safe skilled drivers. In support of the theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26) -- It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving -- I want to share practical tips for parents on modeling safe driving behaviors as a place to start to help their teens:

Make the Most of GDL's Learner Phase

As a developmental psychologist, I am thrilled that this year’s theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26) is It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving. This theme emphasizes that research and practice efforts should consider the family unit as opposed to focusing on parents and teens in isolation.

Raise Awareness of Four Risky Teen Driving Behaviors

Research shows that while a teen is learning to drive and during the first year of independent driving, it takes a parent and teen working together to develop a skilled safe driver. This year’s theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26), ‘It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving,' drives home this all important connection. As a traffic injury researcher and parent of three teens, I encourage you to use the ‘It Takes Two’ theme to raise awareness of four risky driving behaviors during NTDSW.

Understanding Teens' Driving Skill Deficits

After six hours of behind-the-wheel driver’s ed training and a full year of parent-supervised driving instruction, my daughter, Amanda, earned her probationary license in late August--just in time for school and her senior year. Like many parents, my husband and I tried our best to be supportive throughout her driving journey, but sometimes it wasn’t easy. Too many times we would press down on the imaginary brake when she almost hit a parked car or sped up for no apparent reason in a residential neighborhood and say, “C’mon, pay attention to your driving!” What we didn’t know is that her perceived inattention wasn’t from daydreaming or looking at boys, it was from a lack of knowledge. For Amanda to get it right, we needed to actually teach her how to moderate her speed for various conditions and then practice this skill over and over.

When Teen Crash Research and Reality Collide

Two Monday evenings ago work and life collided in an eerie way. My daughter, Gabby, was driving me home when all of a sudden a car surged on our left. She slammed on the brakes, but we both understood in that split second we could not avoid the crash. We hit that car with force, and for that one instant, everything was in God's hands. Once panic settled, we were relieved to see that everyone, including the other driver, had survived the crash with no serious injury.

Gear Up for National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

It’s that time of the year when schools, student clubs, and community leaders want ideas for how they can use National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) as a platform to promote teen driver safety. The 7th annual NTDSW takes place October 20-26, 2013, so now is a great time to start planning activities that can be implemented in your communities and schools during this special week and throughout the year to promote teen driver safety. This year's theme is ' It Takes Two- Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving.'

A Perfect Storm

There is convincing evidence that individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at heightened risk for unsafe driving behaviors, including teens. Despite a “perfect storm” of inexperience, adolescence and ADHD that increases crash risk, only emerging research about potential interventions exists for these teens. This can be frustrating for both parents and clinicians, like myself, who frequently discuss the risk of driving with teens with ADHD but have little information to offer about specific ways to keep them safe. In an editorial published today in JAMA Pediatrics, my CIRP@CHOP colleagues Flaura Winston and Catherine McDonald address this need head-on.

Assessing Your Teen’s Readiness to Drive

I recently heard Pam Fisher from the NJ Teen Safe Driving Coalition on Radio Times discuss, among other things, texting and driving among teens, the importance of practice, and following Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to enhance teen driving safety. This made me think about other conversations I've had regarding readiness to drive among teens in general. It can be easy to forget that teens who appear physically ready to drive may not be mentally ready to drive. We’ve created some questions that can help to guide a discussion between parents and pediatricians regarding driving readiness.

Can You Train the Teen Brain to Drive?

CIRP@CHOP recently welcomed Robert Isler, PhD, an associate professor of Psychology at The University of Waikato in New Zealand, for an extended visit. He has spent over the past two decades researching physiological psychology and human performance, road safety, and driver training and education to help prevent teen driver crashes. Dr. Isler created eDrive, an engaging gaming platform to train teens on higher order driving skills (i.e., visual search, situation awareness, hazard perception, insight training, and risk management). Results are so promising that the New Zealand government now offers it for free to all learner teen drivers.

New Resource Alert: Teen Driver Safety Toolset

The CIRP team has developed a toolset of the charts and graphs found in Miles to go: Focusing on Risks for Teen Driver Safety, an annual teen driver safety research report that provides a yearly snapshot of teen driver safety for the nation.

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