Graduated Driver Licensing and Parent Involvement: Both Needed For Teen Safety

Graduated Driver Licensing and Parent Involvement: Both Needed For Teen Safety

Early studies concluded that graduated licensing was having a positive impact on the number of teen deaths as a result of auto accidents. However, a study released in February of this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that the number of 16-and-17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased dramatically for the first six months of 2012, based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, attributes much of the increase to the fact that the benefit of state Graduated Driver Licensing laws may be leveling off, as most of these laws have been in place for some time.

While our states play a role in setting limitations for new drivers, it’s up to us as parents to take the lead in helping our teens become safe drivers. Most often, we supply the car, the keys and the insurance, and we need to be involved in teaching skills and supervising their driving.

What can parents to do to help our teens drive safer?

1. Learn the GDL requirements for your state. The Governor Highway Safety Association has a Chart of Graduated Licensing Requirements available on their website.
2. Enforce the rules. Hold your teens accountable for abiding by all requirements set by the state, and those you impose yourself.
3. Check with your insurance company. Most major insurance companies have teen driver programs that offer tips and tools, teen driver courses and driving logs, all designed to better prepare new drivers.
4. Set a good example. Brush up your own driving skills and follow the law. Abolish the “do as I say, not as I do” rule when it comes to driving. While they may not always acknowledge it, teens do listen to what we say and take note of how we act.

There are lots of tips and tricks you can find on the web, but what are yours? Is there something you’ve found helpful in teaching your teen to drive safely?


Welcome to Destination Safety, a weekly blog offering a personal look at automobile safety and related topics. As a mother of two, my goal has always been to impart a little wisdom, share my experiences – good and bad - and do my best to keep my children safe. Protecting yourself and the ones you love. That’s really what safety is all about. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism in 1982. Given that the job market for a young, relatively green wordsmith was a little tight, I took a job with Allstate Insurance in their personal lines claim department. I witnessed firsthand the perils of driving. As luck would have it, several years later a position opened in the Corporate Relations Department. I was once again embracing my passion for communications, this time with an awakened appreciation for the importance of advocating for safer roads and safer drivers. After years of mid-western living, we moved to sunny Florida seven years ago. My 17-year-old son gives me lots of fodder for safety tips and my 24-year-old daughter, well let’s just say, she learned to drive in the snow. I used to wish for a doctor in the family. Now I’m thankful for my relationship with Sterling Autobody Centers.


  • I think all of these ideas are great—but nothing really beats taking the time to allow your kiddo to drive with you in the car. I was lucky enough to grow up in a small town and got plenty of time to practice in parking lots or country roads with my parents. Know it’s not that easy for everyone, but I still think it’s important that parents and guardians take time to ride with their kids. Gives them great practice!

    • I agree. Is nail biting of an experience as it was, I spent a lot of time in the car with both my kids before they got their license. They still tease me about gripping the arm rest and using my imaginary brake!


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