Parental supervision enhances adolescents' prelicense driving skills

October 1, 2014

A web-based program that guides parents in supervising their children’s practice drives with focus on specific skills in a variety of driving environments improves driving performance in prelicensed 16- and 17-year-olds, a trial of such a program showed.

 

A web-based program that guides parents in supervising their children’s practice drives with focus on specific skills in a variety of driving environments improves driving performance in prelicensed 16- and 17-year-olds, a trial of such a program showed.

Investigators in southeastern Pennsylvania divided 217 parent-teenager twosomes into 2 groups. One group was enrolled in the Teen Driving Plan (TDP), which provides 53 brief videos for parental supervision on structuring practice drives to focus on particular driving skills, along with components such as phone calls, to increase parental engagement in providing effective supervision and social support to their children as they develop their driving skills.

Program materials for the TDP group were divided into 6 different driving environments: empty parking lots; suburban residential streets; 1- or 2-lane roads; highways; rural roads with curves and elevation changes; and commercial districts. The second (control) group received a copy of the Pennsylvania driver’s manual, which also was available to families in the TDP group but not provided to them.

At 24 weeks after study enrollment, families in the TDP group reported more practice in each of the 6 environments (except for highways) and after dark as well as in bad weather than those in the control group. The additional practice was reflected in results of a challenging on-road driving assessment across the 6 environments. Professional driving evaluators administered the test to teenaged participants in both groups, terminating it if they determined that the adolescent could not complete the test safely. Overall, evaluators terminated the test in 6% of the TDP group compared with 15% of the control group (Mirman JH, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168[8]:764-771).

 

 

Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. Dr Burke, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.