Keeping Your Teens Safe Behind the Wheel

Arrive in Style Campaign

This past April, Toyota partnered with Teen Vogue to create a Safe Driving Campaign for teenage girls, called “Arrive in Style.” Meant to educate and empower, this campaign was spurred, in part, by the results of a recent study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (MTRI).

The disturbing results of the study indicated that 62% of teen girls use a cell phone while driving. Texting was also an issue; one in three girls reported regularly reading texts while behind the wheel, and another 23% admitted to responding to texts as they drive. That’s a lot of distracted driving going on among the nation’s teenage population.

Although the Safe Driving Campaign—which includes monthly advertorials, online videos and social media elements—focused on safe driving for teen girls, distracted driving is a major issue for all teens. Even though modern cars are much safer than their predecessors, auto crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers—killing an average of seven teens every day in 2010. As a parent, that’s a pretty scary statistic.

Fortunately, you can play a significant role in keeping your teens safe on the road. No, you can’t ban them from behind the wheel, but you can set a good example and help educate the nation’s newest driving population about safe driving practices. Toyota understands how important parent involvement is, which is why they reach out to ‘rents as well (in this particular case, moms).

The first step in keeping your teen safe on the road is putting your phone, iPod, or other distracting devices away when you drive, demonstrating for your teen that texting and driving and other unsafe driving behaviors are NOT okay. It’s also important to talk with your teens—gals and guys—about safe driving. No, yelling and aggressively nagging is probably not the best approach (those teens sure love to rebel!), but instating a rule (and enforcing consequences) regarding distracted driving can help limit your teen’s dangerous driving habits.

Not sure how to broach the topic? Look to Toyota’s “Arrive in Style” campaign for tips. The May 2013 print issue of Teen Vogue has some great tips and discussion topics, delivered in a format your teen girl is more likely to respond to than a boring parental lecture.

If you miss out on May’s issue, don’t despair, because social media elements of the campaign will run through February 2014. Teen Vogue’s website and Facebook page will continue to offer important info, including stories and videos from the magazine’s readers (and their moms) discussing their commitment to safe driving. Watch some with your daughter, and take the opportunity to come up with your own special oath swearing to “Just Say No” to distracted driving. Needless to say, phones should be set aside while you talk with your teen about this potentially life-threatening topic.

Keep in mind that you are your teen’s number-one role model (whether they’re willing to admit it or not). Many of your teens’ peers are likely texting and driving or chatting on the phone behind the wheel, which means it’s more than important than ever that you provide an alternative example. By doing so, you’ll also keep yourself and your family safe—so it’s a clear win-win.


Fight Against Drunk Driving at the Walk Like MADD 5K Fun Walk

MADD Walk like MaddAlthough the numbers have declined over the years, drunk driving is still a completely preventable cause of death that affects many adults and teens every year. By taking part in the Walk Like MADD 5K Fun Walk, you can do your part to prevent drunk driving, raising funds and awareness about this important cause.

The indoor walk will take place at Oakland Mall in Troy at 8:30 a.m. on Sat., May 4. Proceeds from this event go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization dedicated to drunk driving prevention which also helps the victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes, free of charge. It’s a cause we here at Suburban Toyota Scion of Troy feel strongly about.

In Michigan, like many other states, teens can obtain their driver’s license at the age of 16. Unfortunately, automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teens ages 15 to 20, and 40 percent of all fatal alcohol-related crashes involve a teenager who has been drinking. MADD works to spread awareness about the dangers of teen drinking and driving, while supporting legislation, like checkpoints, penalties for bars that serve minors and curfews that can work toward drunk-driving prevention.

The Walk Like MADD 5K Fun Run might be a good starting point to bring up the topic of drunk driving with your teen, so consider bringing them along to this local event. By just showing up and walking a couple of miles, we can set a positive example for our local youth while supporting an important cause.If you have a teen in your life, you might wonder what you can do to keep them from drinking and driving.

Be sure to inform your teens about the dangers of drunk driving, and always find out where they are going and who else will be there. Let them know that, while underage drinking is not acceptable, calling you for a ride is a better option than getting behind the wheel if they’ve had something to drink. Never supply alcohol to anyone underage, and get other local parents to agree not to, as well.