Smart Teen Driving Starts with Communication

May 26, 2009

As "100 deadliest days" of teen driving begin, parents and teens are urged to discuss rules for the road and establish consequences for not following them.

In an effort to encourage parents and teens to establish safe rules on the road, the Allstate Foundation, Injury Free Coalition for Kids and Monroe County’s Office of Traffic Safety introduced a new teen driving contract to select Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices in Monroe County starting Tuesday, May 26.

The introduction of a parent-teen driving contract comes at the start of “the 100 deadliest days,” the season when teen drivers are most at risk for being involved in car crashes. The season begins on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers nationwide and in Monroe County,” said Anne Brayer, M.D., pediatrician of Emergency Medicine at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center and director of Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester. “Our Pediatric Emergency Department at Strong saw 665 children last year for motor vehicle-related injuries. About half of the visits to the ED were from teenagers, ages 16 to 18-years-old.”

The contract was created to help new learner’s permit recipients and parents understand the driving laws, get to know what the graduated driver’s license entails and have a conversation about rules of the road so teens can be smart drivers.

Monroe County’s Office of Traffic Safety will also begin distributing a teen packet in the Greece, Irondequoit and Henrietta DMV offices in conjunction with the parent-teen driving contract. The packet contains a letter reminding parents that they have the ability to take their children’s driving privileges away, the consent form for parents to do so, a teen passenger safety survival kit from the Department of Health, teen driver safety tips from the DMV, a New York Teen Drivers Program brochure and a Shattered Lives brochure that warns against drunk driving.

“We wanted to keep the packet as simple as possible without duplicating information so as not to overwhelm people. We’re providing around-the-board information – information for the teen driver, passenger and parents, along with the teen driving contract, which really brings it all together,” said Jean Triest, traffic safety specialist from the Office of Traffic Safety.

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester is a child injury prevention program centered at the Golisano Children’s Hospital. The program’s main goal is to reduce the incidence and severity of childhood injury in the greater Rochester metropolitan area. For more information, go to http://www.injuryfree.org/ and click on the Rochester location.

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