Contributed by Lora Stead
Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) awarded the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award to Utah’s Don’t Drive Stupid Parent Night Program, a component of the Zero Fatalities initiative. The Parent Night Program was one of only five programs nationwide that received recognition.
Parent Night is an interactive evening with driver education students and their parents where safe driving behaviors are demoed, personal stories are shared and safe driving pledges are made. Students leave with a better understanding of their responsibility behind the wheel. Parents come away understanding the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Laws and with ways to continue to mentor their new-driver teens.
The program was started because research showed that involved parents could cut their teen’s crash risk in half.
Since car crashes are the #1 killer of teens, UDOT saw this as a prime opportunity to decrease those numbers and teamed with PPBH for the program’s creation in 2012. Initially the program was launched at three pilot schools, but the response was so positive that holding a parent night is now part of the Utah driver education curriculum. Davis School District made it mandatory for all eight high schools to participate and we present at about 15 additional high schools throughout Utah.
Some of the results from the program:
-Fatal teen crashes are down by 17%
-Parent’s understanding of GDL laws increased by 281%
Nearly 7,000 Utah students and parents have participated in Parent Nights. If you would like to read more, you can click on these links to see locations of upcoming Parent Night presentations, schedule a presentation, or see some of the material presented.