Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Day of recogning: new teen driving laws in Indiana take effect

Posted by lapearce on July 1, 2009

The day that teen drivers in Indiana have been dreading, and teen driving advocates have been waiting for is here. Starting today, teen drivers in Indiana will be under stricter restrictions on the road: no cell phones for drivers under the age of 18, no driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. or passengers under the age of 25 for the first six months.

The law is a good step in the right direction for Indiana. And as much as teens will not like it, taking away phones, night driving and passengers is a great way to save lives, as all three circustances greatly increase the chance of crashes, especially in new drivers.

Unfortunately, I feel in the next few years we are going to be seeing more and more studies about the ineffectiveness of bans like this. Recent surveys in Texas and Colorado showed that teens still use their phones while they drive, even though they are aware of the dangers. Passengers are also a touchy subject for teens. They want to ride with their friends, and many feel as though they have to as their parents push them to carpool. This may save mom and dad some time, but it drastically increases their teen’s chance of a car crash.

When it comes to restrictions and bans for new drivers a lot of the time the teen and the parent doesn’t understand the dangers that have lead to the ban. They may know that texting while driving is inherently dangerous, but they don’t understand that how it impacts your reaction time and ability to drive is the same as alcohol. Even if they understand this, the “it won’t happen to me” mentality is difficult to overcome unless a crash does happen to them, or someone they know.

Laws like this are designed to give teens incentive to be good drivers. Talk on the phone, get a $500 ticket. They hope that the fear of getting the ticket will keep teens off the phone, off the road at night and alone. But if they don’t enforce the laws, that fear will go away. Whats more is there are more ways that teens can be given these incentives.

The first way is through the parents. You don’t need to wait for your state to pass laws like this to put these restrictions on your child. Set up a parent/teen driving contract and state what they can and cannot do behind the wheel and what the punishments are if they do not abide by the rules you have set. Maybe if they get caught talking on the phone they lose their phone for a week, or lose their privilege to drive on the weekends. This should be done for all new drivers, but if you are looking for a way to fortify safe driving even more, look for a quality teen car control clinic in your area.

When shopping around ask if they address distracted driving. The best programs are in-car where the teens are put through an obstical course while pretending to be on the phone, or having an instructor next to them trying to distract them. They go through the course a few times without the distraction, and just as they start to get the hang of it, you make them do it again distracted. The difference in their performance is astounding, and it is a message that can stick with the teen, because it helps remove the “it can’t happen to me” mentality.

Don’t rely on legislatures and police officers to protect your teens on the road. Take an active roll in their education and make sure they get the best education available. Laws need to be actively and strongly enforced to be effective, but education is something that is always with you.


2 Responses to “Day of recogning: new teen driving laws in Indiana take effect”

  1. safedriver said

    Nice to see strong laws. As parents, we ALSO need to pose strong laws for our kids. Why teach them bad habits, when a professional driving instructor can impose life skills to them.

  2. Abouttime said

    Did you sit down and talk with your kids about how to ride a bike and then send them down the street expecting them not to get killed?? May States and Police departments are now offering a program for teens called “Collision Avoidance Training” for teen drivers.The program d4eveloped by the National Traffic Safety Academy is endorsed and recommended by police departments because it has been so effective reducing teenage accidents in many areas. Look up this group and call the local police department to see if they offer the Collision Avoidance Training program. If not call the police Chief, the Mayor and city council and get it started in your city… It works and it saves lives.

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