Car crashes are the leading cause of death for US teens. Sixty-one percent of teen passengers are killed while riding with a teen driver. In response to those two statements, most US states and territories have adopted GDL laws. GDL is the acronym for Graduated Driver Licensing. While GDL is no guarantee your teen will avoid being cited or injured in a crash, there are ways that help evaluate the teen driver’s maturity and experience that may increase his or her safety.
Using ‘technology’ to monitor teen driving behavior is not optimum because it only tells you where the teen is located and nothing about the teen’s driving behavior. Old-fashioned hands-on supervision returns better ROI! (Return on investment)There are a number of teen driver monitoring devices and services available.
- Monitoring ‘services’ i.e. a bumper sticker asking for a report on the teen’s driving behavior and reported through a specified email address or phone number
- GPS devices connected with the teen’s cell phone or to the vehicle the teen drives
- Cost for these services or devices run from $25 per year-$500 + service fees and contracts
Recommendation: Parents feeling the need to ‘monitor’ the Teen’s driving behavior, indicates the Teen is NOT adequately experienced with good driving skills and does not have the emotional maturity to be licensed. Instead, investing in building good driving skills, and experience gives the youth enough time to develop the maturity required to be a reliable and safe driver and will prove a higher RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
Fostering cooperation is easily achieved when both parent and teen approach teaching/learning to drive with a team spirit. To create a positive driving experience for teen and parent, practice the following to foster cooperation.
Make a calendar to practice driving to accommodate schedules. Stick to the schedule or prearrange any changes. Make it a rule to greet and assess every driver every time he/she comes to the house to transport a family member. Focus only on issues of driving lessons. Do not discuss disappointments, chores, grades, Etc., during driving practice. Your teen will concentrate better on driving if he/she does
not feel ‘trapped’. Practicing courteous and helpful commentary is imperative. If the atmosphere begins to tense, pull off the road to calm down and resolve the situation. Stop for a soda or go home and set another practice date.
Make sure your friends know your driving practice rules and help them follow those rule so your parents do not have to mention it. Complete chores, homework or other expectations before getting behind the wheel for driving practice. Your parents will appreciate your consideration and will consider your cooperation as a point of maturity. Keeping cool attitudes and respectful comments will contribute to a successful driving session. If nervousness or anger sets in, take time to regain your composure or request another date to practice. It just might be a bad day to drive and it is good to recognize that fact. Pay close attention to how you are feeling, what you are thinking and if you are making too many mistakes. Realizing that you may be too tired or distracted to concentrate is part of being mature.
Next: The Argument for Building a Teen Driving Contract