FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Organization Relations|
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Launches Parental Involvement Campaign
YOU Hold the Keys
GLEN BURNIE, MD (August 9, 2010) -- During the month of August, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration is launching a new parental involvement campaign entitled “You Hold the Keys.” Brochures and information will be handed out at the MVA Branch Offices as well as through driver education schools. The “You Hold the Keys” brochure is also available online at: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/Resources/Parent-Involvement-Brochure.pdf
Vehicle crashes kill more teens in Maryland than drugs, guns or any disease. The MVA reports that 16 and 17 year old drivers, who are only 1.6 percent of all licensed drivers, represent 11 percent of all driver fatalities. Maryland has recognized the need for more experience on the road and maturity on the part of teens.
“The Maryland Automated Reporting System, used by the State Police when they are called to the scene of a crash, reveals that someone dies as a result of a young driver-involved crash every three days in Maryland,” said Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator John Kuo. “Not paying attention, driving too fast, failing to yield the right of way and tailgating are the most common factors cited in police reports on young driver crashes.”
Parents and guardians need to get involved and stay involved to keep them safe. The more time they invest in their young driver’s education, the better driver the teen will be. Below is some information about this campaign and some helpful tips parents and guardians can use.
- Monitor independent driving. Help your teen gain experience behind the wheel while also enforcing the rules and restrictions required for driving. Then as your teen begins demonstrating responsible driving, gradually allow additional driving privileges.
- Require seat belt use. Insist on seat belts at all times. Remind your teen that regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect them and their passengers and the best possible defense to reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities. It’s also Maryland law!
- Restrict Passengers. Teen passengers in a vehicle can easily distract a teen driver and/or lead to greater risk taking. The best policy is to restrict teen passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time.
- Warn against speeding. Remind your teen that the risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit traveled.
- Limit nighttime driving. Driving at night is a high-risk activity for teen drivers, with most fatal crashes occurring from 9 p.m. to midnight. If possible, teens should not drive later than 9 p.m.
- Prohibit cell phone use while driving. Require your teen to stop at a safe place off of the road, to make or receive a call, e-mail or text message.
- Prohibit drinking and driving. Make it clear that it’s illegal to drink under the age of 21 and it’s extremely dangerous to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug.
“Research has shown that teens often perceive risks and distractions as less dangerous than they really are,” said Elizabeth A. Baker, Ph.D., NHTSA Region 3 Regional Administrator. “During the teen years, the brain is still growing and changing in the areas that require concentration for complex tasks like driving. The area of the brain that weighs consequences, suppresses impulses and organizes thoughts -- all which are required for driving -- do not fully mature until the person is well into his/her 20’s.”
The MVA reminds parents and guardians that it is up to them to provide plenty of safe practice driving and to continue to monitor their young drivers even after they begin driving independently. Lead by example; teach your teen how to drive courteously and responsibly. And remember: you hold the key to your teen’s driving. Get involved. Stay involved. Keep them safe!
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