A Message to Parents & Guardians
The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles is pleased to continue as a full partner with multiple state agencies*, the Colorado Young Driving Alliance, Safe Roads Alliance, State Farm®, and Toyota, in offering Colorado’s parents and guardians The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program guide.
Since 2013, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and guardians who have used this guide to assist their teens in developing the habits and skills necessary to be safe and responsible drivers. I hope you find the same thing true for you.
Safe roads begin with safe drivers. The Division of Motor Vehicles is committed to ensuring everyone seeking a driving privilege has satisfactorily met the standards for the issuance of an instruction permit or driver license. However, the 2019 Colorado Department of Transportation Problem Identification Report highlights the number of drivers ages 15-20 involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash increased by 60% from 2013-2017. Also, careless driving was the top driver action among young drivers in 2017 and in 2016. Almost half (46%) of drivers ages 15-20 drove carelessly, which resulted in an injury crash or a fatal crash. Compared to drivers ages 21 or older, young drivers ages 15-20 had a higher percentage of failing to yield, failing to stop at lights and stop signs, and reckless driving, resulting in an injury or fatal crash.
It has never been more important to help ensure our young drivers are getting the experience they need to be safe and prepared. The Driver Testing and Education Team actively partners with the Colorado Young Driving Alliance, an organization dedicated to educating students, parents and guardians about the GDL law, which is designed to ensure that our most at-risk drivers are given the right level of training before being given unrestricted driving privileges. It is important that parents and guardians have access to the right resources and education about the GDL law and its requirements.
Parents and guardians are essential to the success of the GDL law and, ultimately, in training teen drivers. Three important resources aiding success include this guide, its companion smartphone app (available for IOS and Android) and an online parent course. These tools have been developed as resources to successfully navigate through the GDL law and help ensure that teens obtain the training essential to becoming a good driver. All of these resources can be found online at the DMV website at www.Colorado.gov/DMV/Minor-Permit.
Driver education, including behind the wheel training, provides our young people with essential opportunities to learn and understand the rules of the road and the laws that impact their driving privileges. Along with our partners, we are working to ensure that young drivers are taught the dangers of distracted driving, the effects of drinking and drugs on driving, the importance of having all passengers buckle up and how to share the road with motorcycles, pedestrians, and large commercial vehicles.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, according to the CDC and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The most important ingredient in a teen becoming a safe driver is the positive influence of a parent or guardian. According to the CDC, having regular conversations about safety, practicing driving together, and leading by example go a long way in ensuring your teen makes smart decisions when they get behind the wheel. You can also create a parent/teen driving agreement that puts your rules in writing to clearly set expectations and limits. Work with your teen to outline hazards to avoid and consequences for breaking rules. Keep it on the fridge and update it as your teen gains experience and more driving privileges.
The old saying “practice makes perfect” is applicable to driving. The more time spent with your teen on the road, the more safe and confident they will be.
You can make a difference. I hope you find this guide and supporting online program a valuable resource to help in preparing your teen to become the driver you want them to be.
Senior Director, Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
* Colorado Department of Revenue, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Human Services