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FIRST ON LOCAL 5: There’s a new resource for teaching young drivers

The Iowa DOT introduced Iowans to a new program that will improve parents’ and teen drivers’ experience behind the wheel. The interview was fir...

The Iowa DOT introduced Iowans to a new program that will improve parents’ and teen drivers’ experience behind the wheel. The interview was first on Good Morning Iowa.

It’s called The Parent Supervised Driving Program and the free program was created to address the need to improve roadway safety and teen driving behavior.

According to Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe, Traffic crashes are the number one cause of fatalities for teens and teens are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. 

We asked why a resource like this is so important for parents and teens.

The first part is to just give parents a strategy for how they interact with their child effectively. Because I know when I started with my child, as much as I know about this, it was still nearly terrifying. You wondered what am I doing the right things and what should I do? so it gives them a strategy. The other part is really with through that app reinforcing the amount of drive time and making sure it’s the right experiences and conditions and it really helps track that,” said Lowe.

Teens can use the free Road Ready app to track driving time, learn safe driving practices, and much more.

Parents and guardians are responsible for making sure their child has completed at least 20 hours of supervised driving prior to obtaining an Intermediate License. Two of those hours will need to be completed between sunset and sunrise.  Additionally, the teen will need to complete 10 hours of supervised driving on the Intermediate License with two of those hours completed between sunset and sunrise before advancing to a full license. The app is a perfect way to keep track of those hours.

“The app most importantly logs all the time, so that you can keep track. You can do it in the book or on do it on the app,” said Jeremy Granish, Managing Partner of JF Griffin. “The covenant thing about the app for parents is that whichever one of you is driving that day, it’s all one account. The child could log the hours, the parents could log the hours, they can all see it together. It tracks the road conditions, it tracks whether it’s night or day, all the things that are really important.”

The program is used in 26 states and according to Emily Stein, the President of Safe Roads Alliance, it’s been effective.

I have seen the teen death rate drop nationwide slightly. We want it to keep going down,” said Stein. “But we’re getting really positive feedback, both from our state programs where we have this program launched and from parents directly saying ‘wow this is a really helpful guide for us’. Not only does this program help to remind adults of the important driving decisions we need to make, it helps to remind them they are the models for their teens.