Recently, I traveled to Chicago to take part in a discussion about safe teen driving. While healthy eating and exercise is important for kids health, the truth is, car crashes are the no. 1 cause of death and injuries for teens in the United States, so it deserves attention!
Of all the things I learned during this conference, one thing has stuck with me more than everything else. The more experience behind the wheel teenagers get, the less likely they will be involved in a traffic accident. While that might seem obvious, before this conference, I saw my kids turning 16 years old as the day I didn’t have to sit in the passenger seat with them anymore. However, now, after hearing stories and advice, I will continue to be in the car while they are learning to drive, even AFTER they have their license, until I feel they have enough experience.
So, while experience is the one thing I have changed my attitude about, the second and perhaps more important focus of this conference was on limiting distractions like texting.
The purpose of this post is to get the teenagers involved with sharing the message with their peers about distracted driving. Act Out Loud is encouraging kids to raise their voices about Safe Teen Driving by hosting a contest. They are encouraging teams to get together and :
Host a school rally
Encourage peers to pledge for safe driving
In return, they will be given a toolkit to make it happen and the winning team will receive $10,000 for their schools!
We were able to meet the kids who won the Act Out Loud competition last year at the conference. I love their slogan! “If you Text, You’re Next!” Very clever Lake City High!
Some key messages I walked away from at this conference was:
Parents are dominant influence on kids.
Teens are more likely to follow GDL rules when parents set expectations, rules, and consequences.
Parents need to be educated on what their states driving rules are for teens.
Skill related issues for teens are not understood by many parents. Many parents try to teach parallel parking, when other skills, like judging distance and speed of oncoming traffic is more significant.
Parents are critical to making GDL (graduated driving laws) effective. but many don’t know what to do or are not engaged in it.