"Parents in the Passenger Seat: A Coaching Guide for Supervising Teens Learning to Drive"

Becoming a licensed driver is a significant event for US teens and their parents. However, driving is a complex and dynamic task, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is an effective program that reduces crashes involving teen drivers, and it requires parental involvement to continue the training. Few resources exist to help parents convey complex skills and provide necessary support to the learning experience.  Download the full guide by clicking on blue text below.

Timing: 
2012 - 2015
Abstract Text: 
GDL typically includes three licensure stages, the first of which is the learner permit or supervised license, which requires parents to supervise their teens’ driving for a minimum number of hours and/or length of time. The second stage allows teens to drive with restrictions that limit exposure to the highest risk conditions. The third stage gives teens full driving privileges. The most common approach that has been taken to enhance GDL policies is to increase restrictions during the second stage of licensure. Research indicates that increased parental involvement also reduces the crash risk of teen drivers, but most parents lack the basic understanding needed to supervise their teens’ driving in a manner that reduces their crash risk. The GDL requirement that parents supervise their teens’ driving during the first stage of licensure provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in a manner that increases their teens’ future safety, and supervision that reduces teens’ crash risk would increase GDL’s effectiveness. To date, no evidence-based guidance has been developed to help parents supervise their teens’ driving in a way that helps them stay safe. At the same time, untested approaches are currently available from various sources, but are typically not theory-based and have been developed by individuals with limited qualifications. Most critically, these materials have not been scientifically evaluated. The proposed research will use the existing scientific evidence base to develop a Parent Coaching Guide to enhance GDL by giving parents easy-to-understand, evidence-based guidelines and information to help them train their teens’ during supervised driving so that they become safe, independent drivers. The guide will be process-evaluated and preliminary efficacy testing will be conducted. In addition to surveys, the evaluation will use state-of-the-art in-vehicle technology to record and observe parents and teens interacting during supervised driving. The results of this study will provide the basis for a larger subsequent evaluation study testing the efficacy of the Guide to enhance teen driver safety