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Parent-teen driving contract could save lives

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POSTED: January 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
ATLANTA — Throughout the dangerous holiday driving season, hundreds of teen drivers will be involved in automobile accidents.
Allstate Insurance Company urges parents to give a gift that could help their teens arrive home safely for the holidays by completing a parent-teen driving contract available at www.allstate.com/teen. In 2006, there were 260 fatalities in automobile crashes involving young drivers between the ages of 3-19 in Georgia. These fatalities included 106 young drivers, 69 passengers in their vehicles and 72 occupants of other vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dec. 23-24 are two of the four deadliest days for drivers. Data shows teens are more likely to be involved in accidents than more experienced drivers. Teen drivers between the ages of 16 to 20 were involved in about 900 vehicle crashes in the month of December 2006 alone.
As parents across the country fulfill teens’ holiday wish lists, Allstate is encouraging them to make its Interactive Parent-Teen Driving Contract a complement to the popular handheld gadgets they’ll be giving. Cell phones, video game units, MP3 players and other popular mobile devices create distractions for teens behind the wheel. Using these devices while driving is especially dangerous during a season in which traffic is heavier, and in many parts of the country weather conditions are adverse.
“We are extremely pleased to participate in this rewarding program to promote driver safety and keep teens alive on the road,” Southeast Region Field Vice President Cliff Butler said. “As a parent I understand this signed contract will mean as much as any present a parent receives.”
The contract, available at www.allstate.com/teen, is the centerpiece of a national awareness campaign, which enables parents to comfortably discuss safe driving practices. A recent study published by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicates intervention materials, including a parent-teen driving agreement for newly licensed drivers reduces high-risk driving behaviors.
The contract includes ‘agreements’ and ‘consequences’ for eight categories, including: speeding and tickets; time of day; crashes; number of passengers; drinking and driving; seatbelts; cell phones / music / other distractions and grades.
While the Allstate Parent-Teen Driving Contract provides a great holiday gift, as well as an effective tool to promote safe teen driving, the holiday season is also the perfect time of year for parents to model safe driving behavior when they are operating an automobile. According to a recent survey by The Allstate Foundation, 89 percent of teens say their parents are influential in encouraging safer driving. Studies show teens are more likely to put down the phone and MP3 player, wear a seat belt and follow the rules of the road if they see their parents do the same.
The Allstate Foundation has been focused on teen driving as a priority since 2005. The program is designed to make smart driving socially acceptable to teens by surrounding them with messages that help change the way they think and act when in a car.
 

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