Gear Up for National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

August 20, 2013
            Address a Barrier to
              Effective Support

NTDSW event organizers should be aware of a known barrier to parents providing effective support: Research shows that parents may misinterpret driving skill deficits in their teens as intentional risk-taking or lack of attention to detail. So instead of teaching that missing skill, parents may instead say “Arghhh, pay attention!” and press their foot down on the imaginary brake. Parents and teens need to recognize that unsafe driving is often a result of not practicing skills such as speed management and hazard detection. More on this topic to come in a future blog

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.

It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving
Upon reviewing current research and program development in the field of teen driver safety and speaking with fellow stakeholders, the CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research team has decided to focus our NTDSW theme on the important roles for parents and teens in the learning-to-drive process. While a teen is learning to drive and during the first year of independent driving, it takes two to develop a skilled safe driver.

What does this mean? Teens and parents need to talk and set clear expectations for each other. On the one hand, teens should expect and advocate for support from their parents. This support can involve scheduled supervised practice drives, clear rules for safety, and parents modeling safe driving behaviors. On the other hand, parents should expect their teens to take an active role in learning to drive and in following safety rules when driving on their own. Both parents and teens should expect to contribute to the quality of the learning environment.

teendriversource.org provides evidence-based recommendations for critical skills to practice during those supervised drives, the best rules for families to establish for safety’s sake, and the proper driving behaviors that parents should model. These can be at the core of your messages for NTDSW activities.

Over the course of the next couple of months, we will share perspectives, facts, and recommendations from the Teen Driver Safety Research team that support the theme of 'It Takes Two.' Subscribe to our Research and Action RSS feed and follow our social media channels such as @SafetyMD (#teendriving2013) and Ride Like A Friend.Drive Like You Care Facebook page. You know your classmates, parents and communities best. Use the facts and research to help you get creative in communicating actionable recommendations to them.