A Message to Parents and Guardians
Teaching Your Teen to Drive
The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles is pleased to continue as a full partner with multiple state agencies*, the Colorado Young Driving Alliance and Safe Roads Alliance and State Farm®, Toyota and the National Guard in offering Colorado’s parents and guardians The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program guide.
Since 2013, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and guardians who have used this guide to assist their teens in developing the habits and skills necessary to be safe and responsible drivers. I hope you find the same thing true for you.
Safe roads begin with safe drivers. The Division of Motor Vehicles is committed to ensuring everyone seeking a driving privilege has satisfactorily met the standards for the issuance of an instruction permit or driver license. The 2018 Colorado Department of Transportation Problem Identification Report highlights that inexperience was the leading contributing factor in injury/fatal crashes among young drivers (15-20), but also that Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws work, as the number of drivers aged 15-20 involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash decreased by 12 percent from 2015 to 2016.
To help ensure our young drivers are getting the experience they need to be safe and prepared, we actively partner with the Colorado Young Driving Alliance, an organization dedicated to educating students, parents and guardians about the GDL law, which is designed to ensure that our most at-risk drivers are given the right level of training before being given unrestricted driving privileges. It is important that parents and guardians have access to the right resources and education about the GDL law and its requirements.
Parents and guardians are essential to the success of the GDL law and, ultimately, in training teen drivers. Two important resources include this guide and its companion smartphone app (available for IOS and Android) and an online parent course. Both have been developed as resources to successfully navigate through the GDL law and help ensure teens obtain the training essential to become a good driver. The guide and smartphone application can also be found online at the DMV website at www.Colorado.gov/DMV/Minor-Permit. The online course can be found at www.COTeenDriver.com.
Along with our partners, we are working to ensure that young drivers are taught the dangers of distracted driving, the effects of drinking and drugs on driving, the importance of having all passengers buckle up and how to share the road with motorcycles, pedestrians, and large commercial vehicles. Colorado’s highest rates of teen driving fatalities are in our rural counties. Driver education, including behind the wheel training, provides our young people with essential opportunities to learn and understand the rules of the road and the laws that impact their driving privileges.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, according to the CDC and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The most important ingredient in a teen becoming a safe driver is the positive influence of a parent or guardian. According to the CDC, having regular conversations about safety, practicing driving together, and leading by example go a long way in ensuring your teen makes smart decisions when they get behind the wheel. You can also create a parent-teen driving agreement that puts your rules in writing to clearly set expectations and limits. Work with your teen to outline hazards to avoid and consequences for breaking rules. Keep it on the fridge and update it as your teen gains experience and more driving privileges.
The old saying “practice makes perfect” is applicable to driving. The more time spent with your teen on the road, the more safe and confident they will be.
You can make a difference. I hope you find this guide and supporting online program a valuable resource to help in preparing your teen to become the driver you want them to be.
Senior Director, Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
* Colorado Department of Revenue, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Human Services