This report describes the development of a training session developed for parents of new teenage drivers to help them to mentor and guide their teens effectively as they learn how to drive.
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For more than five years, the AAA Foundation has been engaged in a multi-part, naturalistic study of teen drivers in North Carolina, conducted at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. In Part I of the study, researchers examined how parents supervise and coach their teen drivers during the learner permit stage of North Carolina’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. Using in-vehicle recordings of novice teen driving, as well as family surveys, we learned that many teens simply don’t get enough practice during the relatively safe permit period, and gained valuable insights into how parents might serve as more effective driving coaches.
In Part II, we kept the cameras in the vehicles of a subset of the original families, and studied how the driving environment and behaviors changed as teens began to drive unsupervised. Then, in Part III, we re-analyzed the data to specifically investigate distracted driving among newly-licensed teens.
This latest report, Improving Parental Supervision of Novice Drivers Using an Evidence-Based Approach, details how the findings from the first three phases of the study were utilized to create a session — grounded in principles of adult learning — that helps parents serve more effectively as teen driving coaches. With similar parent coaching classes already required in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Northern Virginia, the aim of this fourth research phase was to explore how to make these sessions as beneficial as possible, in light of recent study findings.