Involving parents

Parents are often implicitly involved in their children’s driving by providing access to a car, or by financing lessons or motor insurance.

The Importance of Parents

Keating stated that next to graduated licensing, parents were a “critical factor” in reducing unsafe driving by teenagers:

“Parental monitoring, involvement and expectations remain key to reducing teen risky behaviour, including driving”.

Keating (2008)

Goodwin et al (2006) summarised the importance of the parental influence:

“Young-driver experts are in substantial agreement that more effective parental involvement in supervising and managing teenage drivers is one of the most promising avenues for further lowering young-driver crashes, injuries and fatalities.”

Goodwin, Waller, Foss, & Margolis (2006) Parental Supervision of Teenage Drivers in a Graduated Licensing System, Traffic Injury Prevention Vol. 7. pp. 225

Parents are often implicitly involved in their children’s driving by providing access to a car, or by financing lessons or motor insurance.

Beck et al (2002) describes parents as “...the principal gatekeepers for driving privileges.” This central role in their children’s early driving years affords parents a critical opportunity to influence safety positive behaviours.

Key messages to communciate to parents on how they can help their children to be safer drviers are:

  • Setting boundaries at the start of the learning to drive process. Parents are very often in a position of power given the fact that learning to drive, comes at a price.
  • Drawing up a contract , signed by both parties, setting out agreed parameters for the first six months e.g. no friends as passengers
  • Ensuring that the young person is the driver when journeying with family. Young people are a low risk group when learning to drive, because there is an adult passenger. Maintaining that model is important after the test is passed. A young driver with young passengers may adopt riskier behaviours, particularly at night.