Teaching young drivers good habits behind the wheel

While authorities say teen drivers shouldn't use cell phones behind the wheel, they do promote the use of smart phone apps to track supervised time spent driving with a licensed, adult driver.


by Bonnie Shelton

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Posted on October 25, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 9:15 AM

MERIDIAN -- It's National Teen Driver Safety Week and Idaho State troopers are doing what they can to promote safety by reaching out to the youngest drivers on Idaho's roads.

ISP said they're sending a strong message to new drivers through the "5 to Drive" campaign. It stresses five rules for staying safe on the road.

1. No cell phones while driving

2. No extra passengers

3. No speeding

4. No alcohol

5. No driving or riding without a seat belt

Officers told us limiting distractions is important for any driver, but especially one just learning the rules of the road.

 "Distracted driving is one of the biggest things that we deal with. Cell phones, it seems like everybody has a cell phone. Sometimes, you really think teen drivers especially they're more worried about who's texting them than operating the vehicle that they're in charge of," said ISP Trooper Kenny Walker.

In 2012, there were 62,000 licensed drivers between the age of 15 and 19 on Idaho roads, according to the Idaho Department of Transportation. That makes up about six percent of total drivers in the state.

ITD officials say young drivers are also more likely to be involved in fatal or injury related crashes.

"The more time they can spend focusing on what they're doing and paying attention to the surroundings and making sure that they're controlling the vehicle that they're actually in charge of the better off everyone is going to be, themselves included," said Tpr. Walker.

New drivers are required to log 50 supervised driving hours with a licensed adult in the state of Idaho.

There are several apps available to help teens and parents track those hours, including one called "RoadReady," but troopers warn you should always turn the app on before starting the car. Then, put it away while driving so teens don't get in the habit of having their phone out while in the car.

You can learn more about how to create good driving habits and ways to teach teens the rules of the road by visiting idahoteendriving.org.