4/9/2013 1:23:00 PM DODGE COUNTY STRESSES TEEN DRIVING SAFETY DURING PROM
The Dodge County Safe Roads Coalition doesn't want the class of 2013 going out in a crash. Celebrations surrounding the prom season make this time of year potentially deadly on the road. The coalition is using the period to remind parents, grandparents and caregivers about the importance to talk with their teen to reinforce teen driving laws, and set their own family driving rules.
"This time of year has the potential to be very deadly for teenagers and it's critical for parents to step up and reinforce safe driving choices and behaviors," says Kasson-Mantorville Superintendent, Mark Matuska. "Now is the time to stress for your teen to buckle up, hang up and drive, and speak up to stop unsafe driving when riding with friends."
Traffic Crashes - Leading Cause of Teen Deaths
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for Minnesota teens due to inexperience, risk-taking, distractions and poor seat belt compliance. In the last five years, 166 teen motorists (13-19) were killed and only 68 were buckled up. Of those 166 deaths, 65 teens killed were backseat passengers and only 27 were belted. In the last decade, 505 teen motorists teens were killed in Minnesota traffic crashes.
Important Role of Parents and Safe Teen Driving
The Dodge County Safe Roads Coalition is urging parents to talk to their teen about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking, and encourage them to always buckle up to keep them safe.
Superintendent Matuska says parents should also reinforce teen driving laws such as belt use, passenger limitations, night time driving, no cell phone use and no texting (including when stopped in traffic).
"It is so important that parents talk to their teen drivers and establish rules for the road," says Matuska, "Just because a teen has their license does not mean they are experienced, safe drivers. Parents must stay involved with a teen's driving just as they do with their grades, athletics and other activities."
Guide for Parents to Establish Safer Teen Drivers
Provide significant supervised driving training, and continue to do so even after licensure.
Train teen on a variety of road types (urban, rural) and in different conditions (night, rain, snow).
Talk with teen to reinforce laws and set limits (such as passenger limitations, nighttime driving) - and use a driving contract between parent and teen to set rules.
Encourage teen to speak up when they feel unsafe in a vehicle to stop unsafe driving behaviors.
A "teen license parent withdrawal form" is available for parents to cancel the driving privileges of their teen's driver's license (under age 18)
Find resources including a driver's skills checklist, a parent-teen contract, teen driver laws and the parent withdrawal form online at ots.dps.mn.gov, click on "Teen Driving," found under "Traffic Topics."
Parents, grandparents and other caregivers should also know: Where their teen is going; who they'll be with; and when they are expected to be home. Parents should also make themselves available to pick up their children at any time or location.