Program teaches parents how to keep their teen drivers safe
COLUMBIA - Parents with teenage drivers will meet at Battle High School for an information session on the Missouri Graduated License law and safe driving tips Tuesday night.
The law requires young drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 to complete a three-stage licensing process. It starts with young drivers acquiring an instruction permit, an intermediate license, and in the end a full driver license.
First Impact is a traffic safety program developed by Think First Missouri that educates parents about this law.
"Most kids know about the law, but most parents do not. We go over the basic information that is pertinent for a parent to understand," First Impact Director Deana Dothage said.
Dothage is also one of those parents herself.
"My son is 16. He’s been driving since late August. I’ve recently experienced teaching a permit driver under the GDL law," she said. "It’s easy for me to understand how the parents we are presenting to are feeling."
She said there are parents who lack confidence in teaching their teenager how to drive, but there are other ways young drivers can learn. Legal guardians or certified driving instructors can also help teach.
The state requires young drivers to complete at least 40 hours of behind-the-wheel driving with a licensed driver in the passenger seat.
"We recommend 100 hours of supervised driving with a parent as a passenger," Dothage said.
According to SaveMoLives.com traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for youth in Missouri.
"We want to make sure they make those correct choices behind the wheel," Sgt. Scott White of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. "Make sure they put that phone down, pay attention, drive the speed limit and make sure that they drive sober, because one of the biggest risks they face right now in their lives is driving.”
White said the most dangerous risk teen drivers face is their mindset.
“They all think that it can’t happen to them, and they need to understand that driving is the first privilege they will earn in their lives that allows them to kill another person," he said.
First Impact said its next session will be held at Creve Coeur Police Department Wednesday.
For more session dates and times visit First Impact.