Posts Tagged ‘safe teens’

With traffic crashes the leading cause of death for teens, making sure new drivers have a foundation in basic driving skills is critical to success behind the wheel

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 17, 2012) – With the summer months ahead and many teens looking to complete their driver’s education courses, AAA offers advice, resources and tips on selecting a quality driving school to help provide a solid foundation of driving skills for your teen.

With new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety highlighting the steep fatality risks teen drivers face when they transport young passengers, it’s critical that parents be fully engaged in their teen’s process of learning to drive. AAA recommends the use of a qualified, professional driving instructor, which is a requirement to receive a license in some states.

“Quality driving instruction provides the foundation needed for safe driving practices. Instructors ensure their students have the basic skills, knowledge and habits needed for safety on the road,” said Dr. Bill Van Tassel, manager, AAA Driver Training Programs. “Using a third-party instructor also can eliminate some of the added stress and emotion that can occur between parents and teens and allow a calmer focus on learning to drive safely.”

However, not all driving schools are the same. To help parents identify the best driving school for their teen, AAA offers the following checklist:

Ask Friends and Neighbors. Seek recommendations and ask why they selected a particular driving school.

Call and Visit Several Schools. Ask to see classrooms and to observe part of a course. Classrooms should be clean, orderly and set up to conduct classroom sessions. Check that there is a desk for each student in the class with a clear view of any visual displays.

Ensure Classroom and Behind-the-Wheel Sessions are Integrated. An ideal course integrates classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Classroom time should consist of a structured lesson plan that includes coverage of risk prevention and the fundamentals of defensive driving practices. Behind-the-wheel sessions should correspond with the classroom lesson plan to reinforce and demonstrate the practical usage of the concepts. Beginners learn best with two in-car lessons each week. Driving environments should include residential streets, city traffic, rural roads, highways and limited-access freeways.

Check References and Complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the school. Ask for references of previous students and parents that can be called about their experiences with the school.

When searching for a driving school, parents can also consider AAA-affiliated schools. Any school that displays the AAA logo has been thoroughly reviewed and maintains a high level of standards.

Detailed tips about driving schools, as well as a driving school evaluation checklist, are available for free in AAA’s Choosing a Driving School brochure, which is available to download online from AAA’s Keys2Drive website.

Even with the use of a quality driving school, parental involvement is essential for teens to learn safe driving habits. AAA offers a wide variety of resources to guide parents through the process of their teens learning how to drive through its teen driver safety website—TeenDriving.AAA.com. The interactive site provides parents and teens with specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process—from preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo driving.  Some highlighted features of the website include:

The StartSmart Newsletter helps families get through the crucial period when teens are learning to drive. A series of electronic newsletters and webisodes helps you identify the challenges you and your teen will face and how to work as a team to reduce risk.

Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – AAA suggests signing an agreement to help set realistic expectations and establish boundaries for teen drivers.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 Teen driver safety advocates comment on recent fatality data.

(WASHINGTON, Feb.17, 2012) Although the report from the Governors Highway Safety Administration shows a disappointing increase in deaths among 16- and 17-year-old drivers in the first half of 2011, the longer-term data in the report highlight the success of graduated driver licensing (GDL).  A decade of legislative victories improved teen driver licensing systems and led to eight consecutive years of falling fatality levels from 2003 to 2010. Teen driver deaths have fallen more than 50 percent during the 15 years since passage of the nation’s first three-stage GDL system in 1996. The pace of new GDL enactments has slowed considerably during the last couple years, however.  If state legislatures continue to improve licensing processes for teens, we can resume our progress in keeping teens safe on the road.

As an advocate on teen driver safety for more than 75 years and a leader in advocacy and research into better teen licensing, AAA concurs with report recommendations that improving laws and increasing compliance with state GDL systems are two key opportunities to resume the downward trend in teen driver deaths.

Graduated driver licensing has been shown to be highly effective at reducing teen crashes, deaths, and injuries, but it is not our only path to improving teen driver safety.  Parents play a key role in setting rules and working with their teens to become safe teen drivers.  AAA has a range of programs that can help parents keep their teens safe on the road, from driver education classes and parent-teen driving agreements to our award-winning teen driver safety website for families, www.teendriving.aaa.com.

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