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January 27, 2009

AskPatty Puts Parents in the Spotlight as Teen Road Deaths Soar

Ap_girl_teen_driver_2 United States' teen road deaths are in epidemic proportions; in fact, road trauma tops the list as the leading cause of death for teens. However, global studies show that parents can help stop the carnage through careful education and supervision during their young driver's formative educational period.  

Statistics released in 2005 show that 4,544 teens aged 16 - 19 died as a result of fatal injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes.  A further 400,000 teen car occupants received injuries that required hospital treatment. It's not only the social costs of losing children in car crashes or having them injured, there are also huge financial costs - in 2005 teen road crashes cost the US $40 billion dollars.

I know firsthand the emotional trauma of having a loved one involved in a car crash, so we at have joined forces with the road safety educators at The Survival Group to launch their new Road Safety Campaign -- the PATTI Program (Parents Actively Teaching Teens Initiative) -- to show parents how to help keep their teen drivers  safe on the roads. I have my own special interest in the success of this campaign, having nearly lost my own son in a high-speed crash several years ago.

Ap_angry_teens_driving This campaign hopes to engage parents in the active supervision of their young drivers -- while the PATTI Program will give Moms and Dads the tools they need to effectively coach their teens.  Being willing to supervise your teen is one thing, but knowing what to teach them is quite another. Doing it with love and patience can also be a challenge, but thanks to their unique teaching resource -- the "Coach a Rookie" Guide, designed specifically for the PATTI Program -- The Survival Group will help empowered parents make real inroads on teen road death statistics by staying actively involved with their teen drivers.

Car_guide_box_01 The PATTI Program is a three-stage initiative, which asks parents to:

  1. Start teaching their teen's road survival strategies.  Parents can find out more about these life-saving techniques in the "Coach a Rookie" Guide.
  2. Become a role model for their teens every time they are behind the wheel.  Most kids have been effectively driving since they were in their baby seats, so by the time they are old enough to actually drive they have absorbed all their parents' driving habits, good or bad.  The "Coach a Rookie" Guide shows parents how to correct any bad habits that may have crept into their driving.
  3. The PATTI Program encourages parents to spend as many hours as possible supervising their teens during the learning phase and the newly licensed stage.  The first year of solo driving is particularly dangerous so it is even more important that Moms and Dads keep being involved with their teens. The program suggests parents commit to at least 50 hours of supervising your teen driver - though they recommend 120 hours of supervision under all sorts of driving conditions. Parents need to remain involved with their teen driver, not only during the learning phase but most importantly just after they have been granted their driver's license, as statistics show the first year of solo driving is the most dangerous and young men are 3 times more likely to be killed on the road than young women

Yvonne_Williams90x120 We've also posted an informative podcast featuring Yvonne Williams, a road safety educator and member of the Australasian College of Road Safety.  Yvonne is a freelance journalist, motoring writer, and co-founder of The Survival Group. Her avid interest in cars began when she met her husband David (who belonged to a car club) and they started competing in motor sport events. The pair still enjoy tarmac rallies today! Yvonne and David became involved in road safety education in 1996 when their children started driving. Because of their motor sport background and the fact that David was a driving instructor, they knew very early on what their kids needed to concentrate on when out driving.  They also spent more than 120 hours supervising their teens under varied driving conditions. Their son Tristan, who is also involved in The Survival Group, is now an aspiring race driver and Advanced Driver Training Consultant.

Ap_teen_driver Global studies conducted by the OECD Joint Transport Research Center, (now International Transport Forum), on young drivers found that increased supervision by parents during the learning stage and newly licensed phase in particular led to a reduction in teen crashes. Countries that adopted 120 hours of supervised driving were able to reduce the teen crash rate by 40%. (Research is found in the October 2006 Policy Brief - Young Drivers The Road to Safety -Publisher: The European Conference of Ministers of Transport & OECD. Center for Disease Control & Prevention, WISQARS online injury statistics and reporting system.)

Half the proceeds from sales of "Coach a Rookie Guide" go directly to United Spinal Association. United Spinal Association,, is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans, and their mission is to improve the quality of life of Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D). Membership is free and open to all individuals with spinal cord injuries and diseases. It is because of my own personal experiences that I am proud to be a member of the board of directors of

Empowered parents can make real inroads on teen road death statistics by staying actively involved with their teen drivers.  For more information on the PATTI Program go to or

Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere
President and CEO

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