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Growing Safe Drivers: Parents Make the Difference!

Turning your teen loose with the family car is an anxious moment for most of us parents – and for good reason, given that car accidents are the number one cause of death for people 15 – 19 years of age. But the good news is we have much greater impact on our children’s driving habits than we often realize. Gordy Pehrson, Youth Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (Office of Traffic Safety), has the information we all need to help our children become the safest drivers they can be. His important message should empower all of us to know the laws governing teen drivers and to go beyond the law in setting clear expectations and limits – and being a clear example – for our children.


What new information did you learn in this Mom Enough show about laws for teen drivers? What ideas did you get for being a strong parent in ensuring that your child drives responsibly? Share your thoughts in our REPLY space!


For a parent’s role in developing a safe teen driver, click here.

For the Parent/Teen Driver Awareness Class outline and discussion guide, click here.

For a driving contract between a teen and parent, click here.

For register your teen driver for a collision avoidance class, click here.

For a transcript of this show, provided by the Minnesota Department of Education, click here.

Comments: 2  |  Reply  |  Category: our shows
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  1. charles cole on March 9, 2016

    I’m having a problem as a parent with my daughter getting her license. She has failed the road test three times. But, she think she knows everything about driving. She just want to drive because her peers are driving, and she has a job she has to get to. I’ve tried very hard to talk to about driving and to drive the ford flex we have. But she wants to drive on her own time. Now, I see her trying to pay for hours behind the wheel, which is going to cost her around $500 dollar. But she’s trying to blame everything on me because she haven’t got her license. She just turned 19. Please help me because she doesn’t understand the laws of driving. She just wanna drive to get from A to B.

  2. Stacy on March 11, 2016

    In response to our listener inquiry, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety provided this additional information:

    Learning how to drive takes many hours of supervised driving experience in a variety of driving conditions, road types and weather. There are no shortcuts to the process of acquiring safe driving skills.

    Not every parent is “cut-out” to be the primary supervising driver of a novice teen as they learn how to be a safe driver. Other responsible adults – a grandparent, aunt, uncle or trusted friend – may be a better fit to prepare your teen to handle challenges he or she will face after they’re allowed to drive independently.

    Both the novice and supervising driver must understand that learning how to drive means much more than learning how to pass the driving test. Developing parallel parking skills may be a challenge to pass the driving test, but I’ve never heard of anyone that was injured or killed while parallel parking.

    It takes hundreds if not thousands of hours of driving experience to develop the “instinctive” driving skills and habits needed to help new drivers avoid crashes. Unfortunately, traffic crashes continue to be one of the leading causes of teen deaths in Minnesota.

    When learning to drive, rushing the training process usually results in negative outcomes. Parents must determine when their child is “ready” to drive without supervision. It’s important that “readiness” is determined on more than just acquiring basic driving skills. Parents should ask themselves if their child has demonstrated a level of maturity that will allow them to handle the responsibilities that come with the adult privileges of driving a motor vehicle. It’s important that parents discuss safe driving and responsibilities with their teens and consider using a parent/teen driving contract. One is found at http://momenough.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/P.O.I.-Parent-Teen-Contract_DPS.pdf

    Parents should be encouraged to attend a Teen Driver Safety, Parent Awareness Class provided by their local driver education providers. Many driver educators use the “Point of Impact” curriculum for their parent classes. The “POI” video, which is one part of the POI classes, can be viewed at http://youtu.be/jOkVMa3g5gQ

    For crash avoidance skills training opportunities, visit https://www.stcloudstate.edu/continuingstudies/mhsrc/ or http://www.dctc.edu/continuing-education/transportation-safety/accident-avoidance/

    We hope this helps!