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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Summer 2010 Download Newsletter pdf
[2.2 MB, 12 pgs.]

Fall 2010 | Vol. 12 | No. 5

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AAA Foundation Studies Parents’ Role as Teens Learn to Drive

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has published a report examining the nature and quality of parental supervision during the learner stage in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) process.

The report, Parents, Teens and the Learner Stage of Graduated Driver Licensing, provides the results of a study of 50 families in North Carolina as their teenagers received their learners’ permits. The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center conducted the study using both parent interviews as well as in-vehicle cameras to gather various data, including information on the parents’ supervisory role and the type, frequency and duration of practice sessions.

Parents, Teens and the Learner Stage of Graduated Driver Licensing cover

The study found that nearly half of the parents felt uncomfortable letting their teen drive in at least one driving situation, even after the year-long learner’s stage. However, 37 percent of these parents still permitted their teen to get a license within a month of being eligible.

Researchers also found that teens appear to be driving less during the learner stage than previously assumed. The AAA Foundation encourages parents to practice more often with their teens and expose their teen drivers to a wider range of situations–such as driving at night, during bad weather, or in heavy city traffic.

A second phase of the study is currently monitoring the teens after they have received their provisional licenses to help determine how they cope with the shift to independent driving and with the many distractions they face.

Download the full report at