Save Our Teen Drivers

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

Texas has nation’s safest teen drivers

Posted by lapearce on July 28, 2009

The fatal crash rate in Texas decreased nearly 33 percent last year, more than double the national average. Texas has graduated driving laws, however 33 states are rated as having better GLD requirements than Texas. Also, states with similar laws did not have the same drop off in deaths as Texas did. So what is Texas’s secret? According to the Texas Transportation Institute the difference is peer programs.

These peer influence programs encourage positive peer pressure among teens. The program, “Teens in the Driver Seat” help teens teach each other about high-risk driving situations such as: night driving, drinking and driving, speeding and cell phone use.

250,000 Texas Teens have gone through the program, which motivates teens to become an active part of the solution by offering incentives to develop their own messages about safe driving. The full program currently costs Texas $1 million to run. The state has most likely saved far more than that from the reduced number of crashes.

Why do peer programs work? Alberto Torres, 17 says it well:

“Teenagers don’t always listen to adults… but we do listen to each other.”

It makes complete sense. One of the main reasons why passenger use is looked down upon for teen drivers is because of the possibility of negative peer pressure causing teens to engage in dangerous activities, such as speeding and not wearing their seat belts. If teens can have this negative impact on each other, why can’t they also have a positive impact. If it is cool to wear your seat belt or drive safety teens can be pressured into doing these things.

People who argue for the need of graduated drivers license will need to reassess their feelings after seeing what Texas has done. Texas has some of the weakest GDLs in the country. The state is also the only one in the nation to not require a behind-the-wheel test for new drivers and does not mandate formal driving education classes. For a fraction of the cost of what it would take to implement these programs Texas accomplished more by encouraging teens to help each other. It’s real food for thought for how we are handling the teen crash epidemic in this country. As I’ve been saying for a long time: simply telling teens what to do is not the answer.

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3 Responses to “Texas has nation’s safest teen drivers”

  1. […] laws in the past, but dispite this, the state has very safe drivers due in part to an extensive peer-to-peer program. Texas wants to help the chances of its young drivers even more by adding more restrictions on […]

  2. Wow….totally agree that “Teenagers don’t always listen to adults… but we do listen to each other.” Sounds like the Teen in the drivers Seat program is really working. I wish there was somethign similiar in Minnesota. My 15 year old will be dricing soon. Needless to say I am scared to death.

  3. “Teen in the drivers Seat program” really well, those figures shows that “GLD requirements” very little effect on those teen drivers, i hope similar education pattern can be implemented in Georgia, so that georgia became a good place to drive

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