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Supplemental driving program could keep teen drivers safer

Teenagers take risks and break rules, no matter how hard parents try to dissuade and educate them. These attempts to test boundaries and act out are a part of maturing. In many cases, they are relatively harmless. However, these unsafe behaviors while driving could have a permanent, life-changing impact on teens and those who share the road with them.

To prevent this, programs like this one are attempting to reach teens in new and powerful ways.

What the program does

The state Reality Education for Drivers program gives drivers under the age of 21 supplemental education in risk reduction. It focuses on educating young drivers about risky behaviors including:

  • Speeding
  • Drinking and driving
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving late at night
  • Having multiple teenage passengers in the car

The program lasts six hours and involves questionnaires, quizzes and lectures, as well as tours of emergency rooms, a morgue and intensive care units. These elements were designed to help young drivers better understand the consequences of risky driving behaviors.

While data is inconclusive regarding whether the participants actively changed their bad driving habits after completing the program, there was some success. One of the more promising results at the end of the program was the teens' increased understanding of the dangers related specifically to speeding and driving while intoxicated.

What this means for Pennsylvania parent

While this specific report focuses on a program in another state, there are similar programs in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. And even if your teen does not participate in these supplemental education programs, parents can still adopt some of the strategies they employ to keep their teen safer behind the wheel.

This can include setting strict driving rules, developing a safe driving contract and utilizing monitoring solutions to keep track of a child's driving habits.

Teaching teenage drivers how to be safe behind the wheel is critical, as it can help them avoid serious car crashes and traffic violations. Learning these lessons at a young age can create confident, safe drivers and reinforce positive driving habits.

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