New Report Helps States Better Engage Parents of Teen Drivers

With deaths on the rise, parent involvement is key to keep teens safe

May 02, 2013, 09:30 ET from Governors Highway Safety Association

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What's an effective tool for reducing teen crash risk? Parents. Moms and dads play a critical role in helping teens survive their most dangerous driving years. This theme is explored in a new report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Promoting Parent Involvement in Teen Driving: An In-Depth Look at the Importance and the Initiatives. The report was developed with a grant from State Farm®.


The publication, the third in a series on teen driving developed for state highway safety offices and teen safe driving advocates discusses what parents need to know about the risk factors for their novice drivers. The report highlights the ways parents can support graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws at home by working closely with their teen as they develop driving skills and gradually increasing privileges. It also explores the critical role parents play in shaping their teens' driving behavior and the challenges of engaging parents who are not only busy, but also likely to view their teens as good, safe drivers. 

"Most parents would agree that it's their responsibility to protect their children," said GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, who oversaw the development of this latest report. "But safety sometimes takes a backseat when it comes to their teens obtaining a driver license. This latest publication focuses on helping states understand what parents need to know, from recognizing the risks for their teens to leveraging tools such as a parent-teen driving compact."

The report also examines current best practices in reaching parents and identifies what elements are essential for states wanting to build a good parent program. "There's an abundance of teen driving resources available to help parents, but not all are created equal," noted Harsha. She adds, "The publication offers a checklist with which to evaluate programs and is an essential tool for all states."

"State Farm knows that teens view their parents as their most important role model when it comes to safe driving," said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs at State Farm. "That's why State Farm is so committed to providing families the tools they need to prepare new drivers for a safe road ahead. Because parents often look to their state agencies for support and information, this report will be a valuable resource."

The report was written by Pam Fischer, a transportation safety consultant and former New Jersey State Highway Safety Office Director who is also the parent of a teen driver. She also previously chaired the New Jersey Teen Driving Commission. Additionally, an expert panel was convened to share their insights on current research and practices, as well as parent engagement programs that are showing or are expected to show promising results.

Expert panel members included: Joseph Cristalli, Connecticut Highway Safety Office; Vicki Harper, State Farm; Suzanne Hill, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Timothy Hollister, Shipman & Goodwin/parent advocate; Nina Jo Saint, Texas Education Service Center; John Saunders, Virginia Highway Safety Services; Jean Thatcher Shope, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Jim Wright, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The views and recommendations in the publication do not necessarily reflect those of State Farm or the individuals or organizations represented on the Expert Panel. Printed copies of the publication will be sent to every GHSA Member and Associate Members.

A PDF version of the new report is available online at A limited number of print copies are available and may be requested via email by contacting

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.

About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada

SOURCE Governors Highway Safety Association