Parenting Tips From Project Ignition Teens On Teen Driver Safety

October 3, 2011

Back in June, we covered the Project Ignition top 10 teen driver safety campaigns. Now we’ve got an important message to parents from teens of Project Ignition on the important issue of teen driver safety.

It’s a little different than the usual parenting tips, in that they come from the teens themselves. But this goes to show that communication really does make a difference. And it isn’t just parents that have all the answers. Sometimes, they can take a few pointers from their own children.

Support and involvement

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, teen drivers whose parents are highly supportive and involved, set rules and monitor driving behavior have half the crash risk as parents who are less involved.

The students and educators involved with Project Ignition have partnered to positively impact teen driving behavior in communities across the U.S. and Canada for the past seven years through service learning.

One effective strategy they have found is to educate parents about the important role they can and do play in teen driver safety. Here are some of the tips they often share.

Accompanying the list of parenting tips from teens are comments from two Project Ignition spokespeople at Rushville Consolidated High School in Rushville, Indiana, a Project Ignition national leader school.

Taylor Mock is a student leader and daughter, one of thousands of students across America and Canada effectively leading her peers, the community and the state legislature in fighting to change norms around distracted driving and other risky teen driving behaviors. Taylor, who recently graduated high school, is Indiana’s 2011 SADD Student of the Year.

Faith Mock is an educator of 32 years, Project Ignition advisor at Rushville Consolidated High School and mom to Taylor.

Open the lines of communication. It’s important to talk with your teen about distracted driving. Make sure you both understand what things are dangerous distractions. Listen to your teen. Ask about what it is like being in the car with other teens and what distractions there are to handle.

-      Faith Mock: “We regularly sit at the dinner table and talk about distracted driving. I listen and really try to understand Taylor’s experiences. I know where she is going, which friends she’ll be with, and what time she should be expected home. And I am always her biggest cheerleader when we need to problem-solve together.”

-      Taylor Mock: “I know my mom is on my side, so it is much easier to talk about important issues like driving safety.”


Offer support. Encourage your teen to use his or her voice. Role-play with your teen so that he can become comfortable saying things like, “We both want to live, so let me answer your phone or text while you drive.” Help your teen get involved with programs at school like Project Ignition so that she can be a positive example and make an impact.”

-      Faith Mock: “As mothers, our role should be to help our children feel comfortable enough and strong enough to use their own voices, whether it be in their community, with their legislators or, most importantly, with their peers. We need to make it easy and cool for our children to say, ‘I want to live. You want to live. We don’t want to hurt anybody else. And therefore, you need to put the phone away. Let me answer the phone, let me take care of the text.’ That takes practice and support at home.”

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