Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teen Drivers Graduated Drivers License Laws, Go National

Nationwide Insurance Supports Senator’s Push for STANDUP Act to Promote Teen Driver Safety

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company today stated its support for the STANDUP Act which, if passed, would establish minimum requirements for state Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws that emphasize teen driver safety : by gradually introducing new teen drivers to the responsibility and skills involved in operating a motor vehicle.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today introduced the The Safe

Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act, which establishes minimum requirements for state GDL laws, promotes action with incentive grant funds, and imposes a sanction on states who fail to meet those requirements after three years.

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death among American teenagers. Since 1999, more than 80,000 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving teen drivers. Nationwide believes that to reduce teen crashes and fatalities we need stronger GDL laws, better public awareness of teen driving issues, and greater involvement of parents in teaching and coaching new teen drivers and using teen safe driving tips : .

In conjunction with the National Safety Council, Nationwide sponsored a national symposium on GDLs where research was released clearly showing the number of teen driver-related-crashes were reduced in states with strong GDL laws.

“Unfortunately, GDL laws vary widely by state and there are no states today that have all the model GDL components that research shows reduces teen crashes and fatalities,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s Consumer Safety Officer. “We believe the STANDUP Act will not only help to prevent teen crashes and reduce crash-related injuries, but more importantly, save lives.”

As a member of the Saferoads4teens Coalition, an alliance representing consumer, health, safety, insurance, and medical organizations, Nationwide supports GDL laws as an integral part of the solution.

“Nationwide believes all of us need to do a better job of raising awareness of the issue so that parents get more involved in teaching and coaching new teen drivers,” Windsor added.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teenagers and Road Rage, Parents be aware and a good example!

Teenagers are impressed by flashy cars, speed & drivers who appear to own the road. Parents prone to road rage set a dangerous example for impressionable young motorists.

Teenagers can't wait to drive – one of the first steps to becoming independent adults. Classroom and online driving courses cover all aspects of driving, including driver courtesy, but teens don't always connect what they've learned in the classroom to what's on the road. At a very early age, kids learn a lot about driving from the examples they see in real life. Parents who curse and scream at other drivers, and who drive aggressively, are teaching teens that it's okay to get angry behind the wheel.

How Does Road Rage Start?
Teens old enough to operate a motor vehicle are still immature and have practically no solo driving experience. Hormones and brain development play a part in how teens react to emotional stimuli. Teens lack confidence in their ability and may fear having an accident or getting killed. A close call or coping with another motorist's blatant discourtesy causes sudden and overwhelming stress. The reaction is aggression toward the offending driver.

Video games are not all child's play and many are far from educational. The worst driving games have nothing to do with skill; motorists have the option to kill pedestrians, get involved in accidents, and damage property. Tragically, the glorified games featuring blood and gore can easily influence kids, but the number of teen fatalities from real life traffic accidents has very little impact on young drivers.

Games aren't the only bad influence on teenagers just starting to drive. For years, movies, TV shows, commercials, magazines and social expectations have been teaching kids that self worth is measured by a car's style and speed.

Parents begin teaching life skills from the moment a child is born. Every time a child or young teen gets into the family vehicle with a parent, he or she learns something about driver courtesy and a motorist's attitude behind the wheel. Whether parents want to admit it or not, many have taught their teenagers the finer points of physical and verbal road rage.

Signs a Teen May be Prone to Road Rage
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) statistics cited on the page, "Aggressive Driving: Three Studies" (Report by Louis Mizell, Inc., for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2009), "An average of at least 1,500 men, women, and children are injured or killed each year in the United States as a result of 'aggressive driving.'"

How can a parent tell if a teen might have a tendency toward road rage? First of all, don't wait until a young person is old enough to get a driving learner's permit to begin analyzing his or her driving character.

•When a teen is a passenger, does he (or she) make aggressive comments or display an angry attitude toward a motorist that's made a mistake?
•Is the teen short-tempered, rude, easily angered, or is he quick to criticize other people?
•Does the teen frequently display extreme emotional tendencies at home, such as yelling and screaming?
•Does he take responsibility for his actions at home, at school, and at work?
•What kind of behavior does the teen (and other young family members) see when a parent drives?
•Does the teen look or act thrilled when a parent or other adult driver tries to "get even" or yells obscenities at an offending motorist?
•Does the teen "show off" at home in front of his friends or try to act macho?
•Is the teen behind the wheel obsessed with speed or slow traffic, and does he take too many chances?
How a Parent Can Stop Teen Road Rage
Teens are influenced by other adults as well as peers who may drive recklessly – or have a reckless attitude about driving. What can parents do when a teen driver shows road rage?

1.Take away the keys. This is not a drastic measure, but may very well be a lifesaving step.
2.When everyone is calm, discuss with the teen his aggressive behavior and improvements that will have to be made before the keys can be returned. Be firm.
3.Ride with the teen until completely convinced the teen's behavior has improved.
4.Seek professional help for teen anger if necessary.
5.Ask other parents, teachers, and any adult who knows the teen to be observant and report any temper outbursts or driving incidences that might indicate an anger problem.
6.Don't make the mistake of thinking teen driver aggression is "only a phase" or "he'll grow out of it".
Parents are responsible for setting good examples for kids of any age. Teenagers learning to drive may demonstrate the same good or bad behaviors as a parent when behind the wheel of a car.

A parent can look for clues that a teen may be too aggressive to drive safely. Parents who suspect a teen is guilty of road rage are strongly urged to take action before someone gets hurt. Taking away the car keys and/or seeking professional help for teen anger is not going too far, but is in fact acting responsibly. Allowing a teen to continue his aggression toward other drivers could ultimately lead to tragedy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pemco Once again leads the way with Teen Driver Info!

Once again Pemco takes the lead in keeping our focus on keeping teen drivers safe! We at Sav-on feel Pemco is a leader in our area for keeping us informed with the latest information.

SEATTLE,April 13/PRNewswire/ -- A recent poll by PEMCO Insurance, the state's largest local insurance company, reveals that Washington drivers want stricter penalties for teen drivers who violate Washington's intermediate license law.

The poll, taken at the end of 2009, shows that 51 percent of licensed drivers believe that intermediate-license violations should be strengthened from a secondary to a primary offense. As a primary offense, the law would allow police to issue tickets to teens solely for violating the intermediate license law's passenger or curfew restrictions.

Buzz The 2001 law makes it illegal for newly licensed teen drivers to drive with passengers under 20 years old who are not immediate family members, and for those teens to drive unaccompanied between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Intermediate drivers must abide by these restrictions during the first six months of having a driver license.

"Sixteen and 17-year-olds in particular are inexperienced drivers, and any sort of distraction, whether it's from a cell phone or a friend in the front seat, increases the risk of a crash," said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO spokesperson. "The intermediate license law helps teens gain skill and experience in a safe setting."

PEMCO also asked drivers if intermediate license laws are enforced with the teen drivers in their own households. Of those with teenage drivers, 84 percent of parents said they enforce the state's laws with their teens. Additionally, three out of four parents (76 percent) enforce other driving-privilege rules aside from what the law requires.

Washington's intermediate license law also requires parents to accompany their teens for 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night, before teens can get their driver license.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Best/Worst States rankings for Teen Driving safety

The report, published by the online-only U.S. News & World Report and released Thursday with help from Allstate Insurance, gave Minnesota high marks for seat-belt and drunken-driving enforcement, as well as an "excellent" rating for laws addressing distracted driving. However, it also noted that the state does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Joining Minnesota in the top 10, in order: the District of Columbia, California, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah and Washington state.

As for other Upper Midwest states, Wisconsin was 41st, Iowa 49th, North Dakota 50th and South Dakota 51st.

The magazine said that South Dakota allows teenagers to drive at 14 and "has some of the nation's more lax laws regarding driving while intoxicated or distracted."

"The rankings don't adequately reflect highway safety in South Dakota,'' says James Carpenter, director of the state Office of Highway Safety.

South Dakota's laws aren't necessarily as weak as the rankings would suggest, he said. "If you are arrested in South Dakota for a DUI, you give blood,'' Carpenter said. "We're trying to get these people off the road before they get to the point of being in a fatal car crash.'' That's a tougher standard than many states have for blood draws in the event of highway crashes, he said.

South Dakota does issue driver licenses at age 14, but it has a graduated system that includes strict supervision of the young driver, with increasing freedom as the teen-ager demonstrates driving skill and judgment.

The full state rankings, including the methodology, are available at In producing the rankings, researchers reviewed comprehensive government statistics on teen driving as well as a range of factors specifically affecting young drivers.

"Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens today," said U.S. News editor Brian Kelly. "By compiling the most critical information on driving safety, [the ranking] can raise awareness among families and help them address safety concerns with their teenage drivers."