Forewarned is forearmed. It's a 16th century idiom that's still relevant today. In short, it means prepare for danger and you'll be better equipped to overcome it.
Share the Keys, an interactive orientation program offered by NJM Insurance Group, helps parents and their teens better prepare for, and deal with, the challenges and risks that young drivers will face on the road. Nearly a decade ago, when I was working for the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS), I had the pleasure of working with Kean University to create the program.
It's research-based and data-driven, and designed to reduce teen driver crash risks through increased parental involvement. A groundbreaking study conducted by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to determine the reasons behind the high teen driver crash rate was instrumental in helping shape Share the Keys content and measuring its effectiveness. The CHOP research found that teen drivers whose parents set rules and monitored where they were going and with whom, in a supportive way, were half as likely to be in a crash.
NJM partnered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission in adopting Share the Keys-available and free to all New Jersey and Pennsylvania high schools-from the NJDHTS last year. Since learned behaviors influence driving behaviors, the program has the biggest impact when introduced prior to or during the time when teens are first learning to drive
As the CHOP research indicated, parental participation is essential in the successful transition from an uninformed, inexperienced driver to a better-informed, responsible one.
These sobering statistics underscore the need for programs like Share the Keys:
- Teen drivers, ages 16 to 19, are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers 20 years or older
- Teens are at the highest risk of being involved in a car crash during the first 12 to 24 months of driving
- The presence of even one teen passenger can nearly double a teen driver's risk of being involved in a fatal crash
During the 60 to 90 minute Share the Keys presentation parents learn about the Graduated Driver's Licensing process; how to effectively monitor their teen's driving; and how to schedule/manage practice driving. Parents also collaborate with their teen on a binding, written driving agreement that addresses seat-belt usage, curfew, teen passenger restrictions, and distracted driving.
The participating parents complete pre- and post-session surveys. Follow-up surveys sent six months to a year after the presentations show that 92% of the teen drivers had not been involved in a crash and 94% had not received a traffic violation.
for more information on Share the Keys, and how your high school can schedule a presentation.