To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are You Smarter Than Your Teen Driver? Take A Quiz To Find Out


October 24, 2013


AAA National has come up with a fun, informative (and humble) way to underscore the main message of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs from October 20 to 26, that involved parents produce safer teen drivers.

They have created a quiz for parents: “Are You Smarter Than Your Teen Driver” to review how some basic driving recommendations have changed over the years (hand position on steering wheel, for example) and to reinforce that one major thing remains the same: smarter teen driving starts with parents.

The quiz is part of a national contest soliciting driving advice from parents and a chance to gauge their own driving smarts. (Entries can be submitted through December 11.)

The quiz is short, but challenging. (This reporter, who frequently writes about teen driving safety issues, scored modestly.)

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States and teens have the highest crash rate of any age group. And the risk of teens being involved in a deadly crash increases significantly when they carry peer passengers.

But research from the final phase of a multi-year study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and education organization, highlighted that parents can do two simple things to help make their teens safer behind the wheel:

• Ensure that they get plenty of practice in a wide variety of driving conditions and situations
• Share their driving experience and wisdom with their teens

“These recommended coaching techniques may seem rather obvious, yet research findings show that parents aren’t regularly practicing these techniques,” Dr. William Van Tassel, AAA manager of driver training programs said in a statement.

The foundation’s research found that:

• Nearly half of parents reported they wanted their teens to get “a lot of practice,” when asked about their plans for their teens’ driving. Yet, only about one in four parents mentioned practicing under a variety of situations or conditions, such as in bad weather, heavy traffic, or on unfamiliar roads.

• Nearly half of parents (47 percent) reported that there was still at least one condition in which they were not comfortable allowing their teen to drive unsupervised even after they passed their driving test and got their license to drive independently.

• Few parents in the study were observed sharing more complex driving tips—such as visual scanning or anticipating other drivers’ behaviors – with their teen drivers.

“Parents should make sure that their teens get ample driving practice, which goes beyond getting practice on routine trips on familiar roads,” Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the foundation said in a statement. “If they do, teens will be much more likely to have the skills and mindset needed to be safer drivers.”

Setting and enforcing family rules, and providing additional coaching beyond the minimum required is also important. State requirements regarding supervised driving practice vary by state, with many requiring a minimum 50 hours, but in most cases this is not enough, experts say.

In step with AAA’s advice that parents should spend more time with their teen drivers so they can build as much experience as possible before driving alone, the organization has developed a wide range of educational tools to help simplify the learning-to-drive process, like its new “StartSmart Online Parent Session.”

The interactive two-hour program covers the essential elements, including a discussion about the situations and challenges parents will most likely experience during supervised driving practice, the AAA noted. The program is being launched in conjunction with a new “How to Drive Online” novice driver education program.

Parent-teen driving agreements, online webinars, licensing information, a web-based parent support e-newsletter program created in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, and other resources are available here.