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Toolkit provides resources to help parents talk to their teens about importance of driving safely

Parental Toolkit debuts during National Teen Driver Safety Week

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) and its traffic safety partners have launched an online resource packet to help parents talk to their teens about the importance of driving safely.

The Teen Driving Parental Toolkit, a collaboration between the OHSP, AAA Michigan, and the Michigan departments of State and Health & Human Services, provides useful information and resources that parents can utilize to help teach their teens safe-driving habits.

Katie Bower, OHSP director, said the timing for providing parents with this powerful 11-page resource is appropriate to help kick off National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through October 22.

“Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens 15 to 18 years-old in the United States,” Bower said. “Because of their lack of experience, teen drivers are at a greater risk of being killed or injured in a crash. That is why it is so important to have traffic safety awareness weeks like this, supported by useful resources such as the toolkit, to help parents encourage safe-driving practices.”

According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in 2021 there were 483,132 licensed drivers aged 15 to 20, which represents 6.7 percent of Michigan drivers.

In 2021, teens and young adults aged 15 to 20 accounted for 9.1 percent (103) of all traffic fatalities in Michigan, with 63.1 percent (65) of those deaths being the driver. That is an increase over 2020 when that same age group accounted for 7.3 percent (79) of all traffic fatalities, with 51.9 percent (41) of those deaths being the driver.

Risk-taking behaviors, such as speeding or distracted driving, and inexperience are the primary factors contributing to teen-driver fatalities.

The OHSP also produced a video, titled “Put Your Foot Down,” to encourage parents to talk to their teen drivers about the dangers of speeding. Research shows that teen drivers whose parents put their foot down are only half as likely to be involved in a crash.

Michigan has adopted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws for teen drivers as a way to promote safety behind the wheel and reduce serious injury and death in a crash. Teens face the greatest risk of a crash during their first year of driving. GDL programs limit high-risk driving and can reduce teen crash risk by as much as 50 percent. For more on the GDL program in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/teendriver.

Mr. Dennis Raymo
raymod@michigan.gov