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Youth, parents talk Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

“Don’t text and drive.” “Don’t drink alcohol and drive.” “Always wear your seatbelt.” “Don’t have too many people in your car.” “Slow down, obey the speed limit.”

Throughout the month of May, Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, you’ve probably heard these messages about being safe behind the wheel at least once. They’re targeted at new teen drivers, but they’re a good reminder for all of us. This month we also heard messages for parents about what they can do to be good role models for the future drivers traveling in their car.

This month, safety leaders like National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind talked about parents. Research has shown that parents have the biggest influence on the decisions their children make, as well as the decisions they make behind the wheel about how they drive.

Our own Erin Holmes wrote about the increase in drugged driving among teens, specifically the increase in marijuana among teen drivers, and the dangerous perception youth have that some drug use does not adversely affect driving ability.

Other safety leaders like Tim Hollister and Pam Fischer shared words of wisdom. Tim reminded parents that they need to be unified and work together to set and enforce rules for the new driver in their house. He suggested that “all adults supervising a teen driver need to have a relatively comparable understanding of the dangers, the daily plans for oversight, state laws, and household rules for driving.”

Do you know what GDL is? Pam Fischer reminded us about the importance of Graduated Driver Licensing laws, which ensure teens gain valuable supervised driving experience before they are granted a full driver license. As these laws are somewhat new in many states, Pam asked parents and safety advocates to talk to each other about GDL laws. “Begin with a family member, neighbor or friend,” she implored. “It may seem simplistic, but parents do welcome information about how they can help keep their teens safe.  I say that not as an advocate, but as the mother of a teen driver.”

Organizations like the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), FCCLA, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) worked tirelessly this month to get the word out about Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. They each have programs and resources targeted to teens and parents of teen drivers. Our own program, IKnowEverything, also has resources for parents and teens.

As we put Global Youth Traffic Safety Month in the rearview mirror and enter into the summer months. Take the time to talk to your teen driver and always be the safest driver you can be.

As Administrator Rosekind says, “One of the most important things we can do for our kids is be a good model, so that means hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, mind in the game.”

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