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Teen Driving Experts at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Support New Recommendations From the New Jersey Teen Driver Study Commission
Date:3/26/2008

PHILADELPHIA, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) support the comprehensive, evidence-based recommendations released today by the New Jersey Teen Driver Study Commission. If adopted into policy, these recommendations will help to reduce the number one killer of teens: motor vehicle crash injury.

"The commission's recommendations are right in line with the most current research in the field of teen driving," said Flaura Winston, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Scientific Director of CHOP's Center for Injury Research and Prevention and Principal Investigator of the hospital's Young Driver Research Initiative. "The research we are conducting with State Farm supports many of the same conclusions concerning graduated driver licensing [GDL], driver education and training, and parents' crucial role in modeling, teaching and monitoring their teens' driving."

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia supports New Jersey in its efforts to lead the charge in setting policies that will reduce the number one killer of teens: crashes.

CHOP researchers recommend other states, including Pennsylvania, adapt their approach to GDL and driver education from New Jersey Commission's recommendations.

In particular, these recommendations have already proven effective in other states. No state however has adopted all of these recommendations:

Nighttime restrictions:

-- Placing a limit on unsupervised driving at night will remove teen drivers from proven dangerous situations. More than half of all fatal nighttime crashes involving teens occur from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Passenger restrictions:

-- Limiting the number of passengers under age 18 will remove teen drivers from proven dangerous situations. Fatal crash risk increases exponentially with each additional teen passenger.

Primary seat belt laws:

-- Closing loopholes in restraint laws to require seat belt use in every seating position will save lives.

-- Of all age groups, teen drivers are the least likely to use seat belts. In 2005, two-thirds of teen drivers and passengers killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

Mandatory 50 hours of supervised driving practice:

-- The Commission's recommendations to extend the length of the permit phase and establish a framework for sufficient behind-the-wheel training are well founded.

-- Research demonstrates that lots of practice under varied conditions is protective for novice drivers. 50 hours of supervised driving is considered a minimum by experts.

Parental Involvement:

-- Parents need to understand their role through the driver training phase, all the way through their teens' first years of independent driving. They need the right tools to keep their teens safe.

-- Teens rely on parents to help them make safe decisions. Parent orientation and frequent contact with a driving instructor are great ways to stay informed and engaged in the learning process.

Funding and access to driver education:

-- The Commission should be commended for recognizing that funding and access to driver education and training must be preserved.

-- Work should be done to determine effective best practices for teaching new drivers and how to best incorporate them into training programs.

School start times:

-- By recommending that schools implement later start times, the commission also addresses the commonly overlooked problem of drowsy driving among teens, a major cause of crashes.

Through a groundbreaking teen driving research partnership, CHOP and State Farm Insurance Companies are working to develop effective interventions to dramatically reduce teen crashes nationally.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric health care professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide.

Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.


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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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