New program aims to curb teen accidents
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles today announced the launch of a new program sponsored by Ford Motor Co. designed to prevent one of the major causes of death and injury for teens on the road — inexperience. In 2012 alone, North Carolina teens had 40,717 crashes resulting in 71 deaths and more than 9,000 injuries, according to the North Carolina DMV Traffic Records Branch.
With sponsorship funds committed by Ford, The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program printed curriculum will provide parents and guardians with a free and researched tool to optimize the 72 hours of parental supervised driving now required for the approximately 100,000 North Carolina teens seeking learner’s permits each year.
“Parents and guardians have a big job in front of them,” said Motor Vehicles Commissioner Kelly J. Thomas. “They are the ones supervising these young people as they take their first on-ramp to the interstate, and they need all the help they can get.”
Adding to the commissioner’s statement, Steve Kenner, global director of Ford’s Automotive Safety Office, said, “The skills outlined in this guide are meant to help teens learn to be better drivers. It is one of the ways Ford works to help teens.” Kenner continued, “In addition to this program, Ford also offers Driving Skills for Life, which gives teens advanced real world training. Ford also offers MyKey technology, which gives parents options to help encourage safe driving behaviors even when the parents aren’t in the car.”
Through a public-private partnership supported by Ford Motor Co., NCDMV is able to provide this valuable resource to parents of teen drivers at no cost to families or to taxpayers. The sponsorship allows NCDMV to provide parents a resource geared toward skill development, and an expansion of the time and conditions teens drive with their parents prior to driving independently.
“We welcome this public-private partnership provided at no cost to families, taxpayers or to the state that can make driving on our roads safer,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “Therefore, we are committed to making The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program available throughout North Carolina.”
The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program focuses on the role of the parent in the teen driver education process and encourages parents and teens to drive together in a variety of weather conditions and unfamiliar settings, whether it is on more rural roads, in highway, city and heavy traffic routes, and also in a variety of conditions and times of day.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia study, Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, teen drivers whose parents are highly involved in the teen driver education process were half as likely to get in a car crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving and twice as likely to wear seatbelts.
“Parents and guardians are in the best position to ensure that their teens become safe drivers and their participation in this program will pay a key role reducing teen crash rates,” explained DMV Commissioner Thomas. “It offers parents and guardians the resources they need to help their permitted teens begin making the right decisions behind the wheel.”
The program is available to parents and teens on multiple platforms, beginning with the printed curriculum that is distributed at DMV offices when the teen receives their learner’s permit. Parents and teens are also invited to connect with the program online and through social media as well as on the RoadReady mobile app that helps parents and teens track their drive times.
“This state-of-the art program was developed by foremost experts and organizations in highway safety,” stated Jeff Larson, President of Safe Roads Alliance, who worked in partnership with NCDMV to develop the program for the state. “It is now available to North Carolina parents and guardians of permitted teens through multiple platforms.”