Teen Drivers At-Risk for More Crashes During Summer Months

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2012

LANSING - If you are a parent with a new teen driver, you can join 30,000 parents around Michigan already using a free, interactive website that provides information and tools to help parents protect their teens while they gain experience driving without adult supervision.

This online program,www.saferdrivingforteens.org, was developed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) through a grant from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teen drivers are on the road a great deal in the summer months and it's proven to be a dangerous time with the wide array of summer activities. Nearly twice as many teens die on America's roads each day during the summer months compared to the rest of the year. Already this season, communities in Michigan are recovering from devastating crashes that both injured and killed high school seniors just before graduation.

"Teen drivers are at greater risk for accidents because of their inexperience, and because of behaviors such as having multiple teen passengers, driving at night and participation in activities that may involve drugs or alcohol," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "Many parents wonder how to keep their teen drivers safe and luckily, this website offers help."

The website features an easy-to-use, interactive driving agreement called Checkpoints™ that helps clearly establish where and when teens can drive without adult supervision, and how teens can earn increased driving privileges. Because the agreement is interactive, parents can use it to establish driving privileges and revisit it as their teen gains driving experience. The website also includes information about Michigan's driving laws for teens and videos about using the agreement and talking with teens about driving.

"Becoming a safe driver takes years of experience," said C. Raymond Bingham, a research professor who heads up UMTRI's Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group. "By being actively involved in their teen's driving, parents help increase their teen's safety."

The Checkpoints™ parent-teen driving agreement was created by Bruce Simons-Morton of the National Institutes of Health and has been tested multiple times in several states, including Michigan. Teens whose parents used the agreement received fewer tickets and reported fewer risky driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, turning fast, unsafe lane changes, cutting in front of other vehicles and going through yellow and red lights.

# # #