2009-10-30 / School News

DMV Announces Teen Driver Safety Week

Commissioner David J. Swarts of the State Department of Motor Vehi - cles announced that National Teen Dri ver Safety Week will run from Oct - o ber 18 through October 24. The week provides an opportunity to stress the vital importance of parental involvement in young driver education incl - uding instruction about the vehicle and traffic laws.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people ages 16 to 24. Recent data from a re - search report by the Children's Hos - pital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance revealed that 89 percent of teenagers indicate that parents are the most influential when encouraging safe driving in supportive and helpful ways. The report also shows that 71 percent of young drivers are less likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol and 50 percent are less likely to be involved in a crash if teens have parents who are involved in the teen's driver education.

According to the research, there are specific things parents can do to keep teens safer while driving, such as: setting clear rules about driving; talking with kids about where they are going and who they are with; and making sure teens know the rules are in place because parents care about them and their safety - not because they wish to control them. Approximately half of the teens surveyed reported that their parents consistently set rules, paid attention to where they were going and who they would be with in a way that was supportive.

"One of the best decisions a family can make is to share in the process of teaching a young driver rules of the road and then practicing safe motoring skills with their teens to develop habits that will continue throughout their lifetime," Swarts said. "One of worst things that could happen to a parent is to suffer the loss of a child. This week, and every week throughout the year, parents should be working with their new motorist to ensure a senseless tragedy is avoided."

In addition to parental involvement, it is also very important for parents to understand New York State's Grad - uated Driver Licensing Law (GDL). Par ents should accurately certify that their teen has had at least 20 hours of practice driving; sign a parent and teen driving contract; enroll in the Teen Electronic Event Notification Service program; and know when to withdraw consent of driving privileges if the new driver is not ready for the responsibility of driving.

It should be noted that there are changes to the GDL taking effect on Feb ruary 22, 2010. After that date, new drivers will be required to perform 50 hours of supervised driving with a minimum of 15 of those hours after sundown prior to taking their road test. Also, there will be a minimum six month waiting period before a road test can be scheduled and the driver holding a junior license will be allowed to have only one non-family member under age 21 as a passenger. On November 1, 2009 a ban on all drivers using portable electronic de - vices while driving, including texting of any kind, will also take effect.

For more information, please visit the DMV Web site at: www.nys - dmv.com or the DMV Office for the Younger Driver Web site at: www.nys - dmv.com/youngerdriver

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