Research has shown that teen drivers have their best chance to operate motor vehicles safely when support is given, rules are set and driving practices are monitored by their parents.
The “Share the Keys” program, a joint effort by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and the NJM Insurance group, provides tools and strategies for teens and parents to work together to promote traffic safety.
Thursday night, a well-attended presentation went over the “Share the Keys” orientation program and outlined its benefits to ensure the best opportunity for safe operation of motor vehicles.
Sgt. Brian Hopely of the Ocean City Police Department led a presentation outlining the rules and requirements of probationary driver licenses and why it is important for teens to follow the rules and parents to enforce them.
Wayne Shelton and Robert Clarke of SJTPO gave specific safety information, such as outlining the proper way to wear a seatbelt and why it is important for front and back seat passengers to wear their seatbelts. Deaths and serious injuries have occurred when back seat passengers were thrown forward in an accident.
The program uses fact-based research to show how parents and teens can reduce the risk of getting into a crash by 50 percent if certain steps are taken. By setting rules and conditions and following them, our young people have a better chance to stay safe. Further, it was stated that teens who must ask their parents for the car keys each time, and who keep them informed as to where they are going and who they are with, have a better chance to be safe.
Sgt. Hopely went over some of the requirements of the probationary license, such as having no more than two people (total including the driver) in the car at any time; not driving between 11 p.m. and 6 a,m. and displaying a sticker on the car which shows that a probationary driver is at the wheel.
Though most people realize texting while driving is not a safe practice, the presentation included some eye-opening statistics: text messaging increases the risk of a crash by 23 times; 21 percent of all drivers under 20 were distracted at the time of the crash; and that 11 teens die every day as a direct result of texting while driving.
Other aspects of the program include information on selecting the safest vehicle for teen drivers, how to select a driving school and offering specific practices to achieve safe driving.
By consistently utilizing these techniques and through the use of constant parent-teen communication, Ocean City High School drivers can avoid becoming a tragic statistic on our roadways, the presenters said.
In addition to the presenters mentioned above, Share the Keys Coordinator Patrick McCormick (NJ Manufacturer’s Insurance Co.) and Acting Chief of Police Jay Prettyman were in attendance.
It was not all work. The After Prom Committee supplied food and refreshments. Additionally, there was a variety of prize giveaways that were donated by local businesses that kept the event interesting.
‘Special Thanks’ goes out to the following businesses that donated:
- The Ocean City Exchange Club
- OCPBA Local 61
- Barra Vaughn Insurance
- The Storage Inn II
- Fabiana Edwards Salon
- Rissy Ross Boutique
- At Your Service Formal Wear
- Ideal Barber Shop
- Spinning Wheel Florist
- Avalon Limousine
- The Flanders Hotel