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Speak Early, Speak Often About Teen Driving Safety: Teen Driving Safety Toolkit

National Teen Driver Safety Week

Campaign Overview

The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee are conducting a statewide campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week to educate and empower New York State parents of teen drivers to "Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety." National Teen Driver Safety Week is an annual weekly observance, established for the third week in October by Congress in 2007, dedicated to raising public awareness and seeking solutions to unnecessary teen deaths on the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of teens in New York State. Every day, approximately nine New Yorkers are treated at hospitals due to car crashes caused by teen drivers. The first year of unsupervised driving poses the greatest risk of a deadly car crash.

Fall is an opportune time to promote the importance of safe driving practices to teen drivers and their parents. Car crashes while driving to and from school, especially after school, at night and with other teens in the car, are common. Studies show that school release time (3 p.m.–6 p.m.) is a high risk time for teen drivers in New York State to be involved in an injury–related car crash. For fatal crashes, the largest proportion of crashes involving drivers ages 16-17 occurs at night from 9 p.m.–midnight. Teen passengers can be deadly distractions for teen drivers. In fact, having two or more peer passengers in the car, more than triples the risk of a fatal crash when a teen is behind the wheel.

Studies show that parents play an important role in keeping their teen safe on the road. According to research conducted by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, teens whose parents set driving rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way are:

  • half as likely to be in a crash
  • 70 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated
  • half as likely to speed
  • twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving

The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and the New York State Department of Health have developed materials to conduct local campaigns which include media items (social media messages, a press release and public service announcements that can be tailored to your community), educational materials for parents, and a sample proclamation for government officials. Local public health departments, community organizations, traffic safety agencies, medical care providers, parent groups, auto dealerships and other contacts are encouraged to participate in this campaign by conducting activities to promote this important message to parents of teen drivers.

Teen Driving Facts

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional death for sixteen and seventeen year-olds in New York State. Every day, approximately six teen drivers in this age group are treated in NYS hospitals due to car crashes.
  • Driver inexperience is a leading cause of teen driver crashes. Safe driving is a skill acquired over time. New research indicates the part of the brain which manages the body's motor skills, emotional maturity and aversion to taking risks, is not fully developed until age 25. Due to this fact, teens are particularly vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors, such as impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding, and fail to recognize their dangers compared to older drivers.
  • Crash risk is highest for teens during the first year of unsupervised driving.
  • Comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing laws are associated with reductions of 38% and 40% in fatal and injury crashes, respectively, among 16-year-old drivers. These laws are systems designed to delay full licensure while allowing teens to obtain their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions.
  • Parents and teens should learn about and comply with the NYS driving laws and the NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL). These laws are in place to keep teens and others safe on roadways. For more information about the GDL laws by region, visit the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website.
  • Parental management of teen driving reduces teen crash risk. Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. Parents are encouraged to use the NYS GDL to develop a set of appropriate driving limits for their new teen drivers and read "The Parent's Guide to Teen Driving".
  • A written parent/teen driving agreement can be used by parents to set family rules about driving and outline clear consequences for breaking the rules. Samples of parent/teen driving agreements can be found by visiting the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • Additional teen driving management tools are recommended and located on the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website.

News Release

Parents have plenty to think about as the school year begins – back-to-school shopping, new routines, sports – however; the safety of their teen drivers should rank high on this list. Many parents are still unaware that car crashes are a leading cause of unintentional death and injuries for teens in New York State. Every day, approximately six teen drivers, ages 16- and 17-years-old, are treated in New York State hospitals for motor vehicle crash injuries. Newly licensed teens are at the highest risk of experiencing a car crash during the first year of driving. Most crashes are caused by driving inexperience, speeding and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.

Car crashes while driving to and from school, especially after school, at night and with other teens in the car are common. Studies show that the hours after school lets out (3 p.m.–6 p.m.) are a high risk time for teen drivers in New York State to be involved in an injury–related car crash. For fatal crashes, the largest proportion of crashes involving drivers ages 16-17 occurs at night from 9 p.m.–midnight. Teen passengers can be deadly distractions for teen drivers. In fact, having two or more peer passengers in the car, more than triples the risk of a fatal crash when a teen is behind the wheel.

Most motor vehicle crashes involving teens are preventable. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, which place restrictions on teen drivers to help them gain skills under lower-risk conditions, have contributed to a drop in deadly crashes involving teen drivers in the nation and New York State since 2004.

The GDL includes restrictions on nighttime driving and teen passengers.

Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to reduce the risk of a tragic car crash. Research studies have found that parental involvement is a key factor in protecting teen drivers. According to a study by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving in a supportive way can lower their crash risk by half. Teens with involved parents are also:

  • Twice as likely to wear seat belts;
  • 70 percent less likely to drink and drive;
  • Half as likely to speed; and
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving.

During National Teen Driver Safety Week (insert date), (insert name of agency) will have educational materials available and/or conduct the following events (name of activities and location) for parents of tean drivers. The goal of the Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety" campaign is to educate and empower parents to take recommended actions to keep their teens as safe as possible while driving.

The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, New York State Department of Health, New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and (name of local agency) urges parents to take these four easy steps to keep their teen drivers as safe as possible.

  1. Talk about the importance of safe driving and buckling up before your teen can drive.
  2. Be a good driving role model. Drive safely, buckle up and follow the rules of the road. Teens learn their driving habits by watching the way you drive.
  3. Know and speak with your teen about the NYS GDL and other laws for drivers. Make sure your teen driver complies with the GDL night driving and passenger restrictions. Use the NYS GDL to set driving rules and limits for your teen driver. For GDL information, go to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website.
  4. Use a parent/teen driving agreement to set and enforce driving rules during the first year of unsupervised driving. Gradually introduce new driving privileges as your teen proves to be a responsible driver. For samples of agreements, go to NYS Department of Health website, the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee website, or contact your car insurance company.

Parents and their teen drivers are also urged to complete the NYS Department of Motor Vehicle's "Parent's Guide to Teen Driving" and the "Resource Guide for Teen Drivers". For more information about teen driving safety, go to the NYS Department of Health Injury Prevention webpage or the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee webpage.

Radio Public Service Announcements

20 Seconds:

  • Parent Management of Teen Driving

    Car crashes are a leading killer of teens. Parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving in a supportive way can lower their crash risk by half. Use a parent-teen driving agreement to manage your teen's driving. Speak early and speak often about teen driving safety. Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe behind the wheel. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

  • Parents as Role Models

    Are you the parent of a teen driver? The way you drive matters because teens tend to adopt their parents' driving habits. Lead by example. Drive safely and follow the traffic laws. Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

  • NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law

    Are you the parent of a teen driver? Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe.

    Make sure you and your teen know and follow the passenger and night driving restrictions for junior licensed drivers. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

30 Seconds:

  • Parent Management of Teen Driving

    Car crashes are a leading killer of teens. Be an involved parent. Take a stand. Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving in a supportive way can lower their risk of a crash by half. Use a parent-teen driving agreement to manage your teen's driving. Speak early, speak often. Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

  • Parents as Role Models

    Parents hold the keys to keeping their teens safe behind the wheel. The way you drive matters as teens tend to adopt their parents' driving habits. Lead by example. Drive the speed limit, be courteous to other drivers, buckle up and follow all traffic laws. Speak early, speak often about teen driving safety. Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

  • NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law

    Parents hold the keys to teen driving safety. Be informed. Know and discuss the New York State Graduated Driver Licensing Law with your teen. Your involvement is KEY to keeping your teen safe. Make sure your teen follows the passenger and night driving restrictions for junior licensed drivers. For information on the Graduated Driver Licensing Law, visit the NYS Department of Motor Vehicle's website. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety and (name of agency).

Twitter and Facebook Posts

Tweets

Facebook Posts

  • Speak early – talk often about safe driving before your teen can drive. When your teen is riding with you, strike up a conversation about why it's important to wear a seat belt, be courteous to other drivers and follow the rules of the road. www.teendriversource.org/for_parents
  • Are you a safe driver? Teens tend to drive like their parents. Set a good example. Drive the speed limit, turn off the cell phone, buckle up and obey traffic rules. www.teendriversource.org/for_parents
  • Speak safety – talk about the laws. Know and speak with your teen about the NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL) and other laws for drivers. The GDL has a proven track record of saving teen lives. Use the NYS GDL to set driving limits for your teen driver. www.dmv.ny.gov/youngerdriver/
  • Speak safety – set and enforce driving rules. Use a parent/teen driving agreement to set and enforce driving rules during the first year of unsupervised driving. Gradually introduce new driving privileges as your teen proves to be a responsible driver. www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf
  • Car crashes are a leading killer for teens. Even teens with good grades are at risk. Parents hold the keys to keeping their teen safe on the road. Learn more about teen driving safety. www.facebook.com/cdcparentsarethekey

Proclamation Request Letter

Date

The Honorable (Name of Elected Official)
Title of Elected Official c/o contact name
Mailing Address
Dear (Contact Person or Elected Official)

(Name of your Organization) cordially invites you to support a statewide campaign entitled "Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety" to be conducted during National Teen Driver Safety Week (insert dates). This annual weekly observance was established by Congress in 2007 and is dedicated to raising public awareness and seeking solutions to prevent unnecessary teen deaths on the road. The goal of the campaign is to educate and empower parents of teen drivers to take proven steps that can reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of teens in New York State (NYS). Every day, approximately six 16- and 17-year-old drivers are treated in NYS hospitals due to car crashes. In addition, nine New Yorkers are treated at hospitals due to car crashes caused by teen drivers. Studies show that the hours after school dismissal (3 p.m.–6 p.m.) is a high risk time for teen drivers in NYS to be involved in an injury–related car crash. For fatal crashes, the largest proportion of crashes involving drivers ages 16-17 occurs at night from 9 p.m. – midnight. Teen passengers can be deadly distractions for teen drivers. In fact, having two or more peer passengers in the car, more than triples the risk of a fatal crash when a teen is behind the wheel.

Research shows that parents play an important role in lowering the crash risk for their teen drivers. Teens whose parents set rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to get in a car crash, twice as likely to wear a seat belt, 71 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated, and 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving compared to teens with uninvolved parents.

We are requesting your support of the "Speak Early, Speak Often about Teen Driving Safety" campaign to educate and empower parents in (Name of Municipality) on actions they can take to keep their teens safe behind-the-wheel. To support the campaign, you can:

  • Issue the enclosed proclamation to proclaim (insert dates) as National Teen Driver Safety Week in (Name of Municipality).
  • Participate in an event : Our organization is (share details about your planned activities) to proclaim your concern and support for teen driving safety in (Name of Municipality).

Your support and assistance will have a great impact on helping us to promote the importance of teen driving safety to parents. We will contact your office to confirm your receipt of this letter and answer any questions about the campaign. Please contact (Name) at (Phone Number) or (E-mail Address) for additional information. Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Name
Title
Enc: Sample Proclamation

Proclamation

WHEREAS, (Name of Municipality) recognizes that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths for 16- and 17-year-olds in New York State and driving safety is a vital concern for the teens of (Name of Municipality); and

WHEREAS, (Name of Municipality) recognizes that the lives of teen drivers, their passengers, and others sharing the road are priceless, which we cannot afford to lose to preventable, needless motor vehicle crashes; and

WHEREAS, research shows that parents are the single most important influence on their teens' driving. Parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half; and

WHEREAS, as the school year has started, parents should be aware that sixteen and seventeen year-old drivers are more likely to be involved in an injury-related car crash during the times of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. which coincides with driving to and from school and extracurricular activities. Also, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash between 9 p.m. and midnight.

WHEREAS, National Teen Driver Safety Week (insert dates) is an opportune time to increase parent awareness of the importance of modeling responsible driving behaviors and setting and enforcing driving rules for teen drivers, including the New York State Graduated Driver Licensing Law, passenger, and night driving restrictions; and

WHEREAS, during this week local agencies, civic organizations, and schools are encouraged to join efforts to educate and empower parents in (Name of Municipality) on steps they can take to reduce the risk of preventable motor vehicle crashes involving their teen drivers; and

WHEREAS, with the resources provided by state traffic safety and public health agencies, in conjunction with the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety's "Speak Early, Speak Often About Teen Driving Safety" statewide campaign, (Name of Local Agencies and Organizations), we can help promote teen driving safety in (Name of Municipality).

NOW, THEREFORE, I (Name of Elected Official) do hereby proclaim (insert dates), National Teen Driver Safety Week, and I commit this observance to the people of (Name of Municipality).

Signature

Teen Driving Safety Resources

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