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Tennessee’s novice driver safety project: a program to increase parental involvement
Chaudhary, Neil K.; Ferguson, Susan A.; Herbel, Susan B.
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
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Graduated licensing has been implemented in many U.S. states to reduce teenage driver crash involvement. The goal is to introduce teenagers gradually to driving before allowing full, unrestricted licensure. Tennessee, one of the states that introduced graduated licensing, implemented a program to influence both driving by teenagers during the learner stage and restrictions imposed by parents after licensure. In addition to a standard welcome letter, booklets and reminder cards were mailed to parents of teenagers who had just obtained their learner's permits. The booklets and cards were designed to assist parents in becoming more actively involved in their children's driving experiences. The effects of three different approaches (welcome letter only, letter plus booklet, and letter plus booklet plus reminder cards) on parental involvement, teenage crashes, and teenage citations were assessed based on telephone interviews with parents. Although the parents said the booklets and reminder cards were helpful and should continue to be sent to other parents, there were no discernible effects on teenage practice driving and reported parental involvement during the learner stage. Nor was there any measurable influence on restrictions imposed by parents after licensure. It is unknown whether the standard welcome letter affected parental involvement, but overall supervised driving exceeded the state requirements by a substantial margin.