Every month DrivingMBA runs a Parent Class for the parents or guardians of our students that are in the process of learning how to drive. The program runs 3 hours and we concentrate on two main objectives: providing parents with information about the topic of teenage driving so that they can make informed decisions for their teen and to provide them with tips, techniques, and what to look for when they are practicing with their teenager. One thing we make PERFECTLY clear is – parents play a crucial role in preparing their children to become safe and responsible young drivers. We do have Busy Parent Programs for parents that simply do not have the time or cannot work with their teenagers, however, the majority of our programs require significant parental involvement to get their teens ready for the responsibility of a license.
It is not my intention to “scare” parents, but I do provide them with information that should make them think, the most significant being that car crashes are the #1 killer of teenagers. Can we wait until they are older – yes, but there is a downside to that decision as well. Parents of teens have control over this process of licensing. Parents make a choice, whether conscious or unconscious, to allow their teenager or their teenagers friends, for that matter, control the process. Taking control means making tough choices, unpopular decisions and doing what is in the best interest of their children – no matter what. That might mean delaying a license and renewing a permit. It might mean practicing with them for a year or two, if necessary before they get their license. It also means that parents may be “inconvenienced” because they have to follow-through on consequences established for breaking rules and they have to continue to drive their kids to where they need to go. This article talks about the role of parents. Unfortunately today, parents are as bad as their kids, they have the same mentality of “oh it’s not going to happen to my kid,” but it does, every day it happens to someone’s kid. Visit our Stop the Roadway Carnage blog, we NEVER have a shortage of new articles about car crashes around the country.
One particularly touchy topic we cover in the class is the use of cell phones. I am VERY CLEAR about the fact that we MUST be good role models for our teens, which means we need to GET OFF the phone. Just this week I had a dad that told me that was unrealistic and that “he wasn’t going to stop using his phone and that perhaps we should be teaching students how to safely use the technology.” I have to admit, I was thrown off – does anyone really think that whatever they do, whatever business they own or run, whatever family member or friend is trying to get in touch with them – that that phone call or that text message is so important we HAVE to take it while driving. If the answer to that is yes, my answer to you is that that is unadulterated BS (and you know what that stands for). Our generation learned how to drive without a cell phone. We had successful careers, we ran successful businesses and life went on. People are killed or maimed daily because of drivers on cell phones – someone’s life is NOT WORTH a phone call or a text message. So, the answer is NO, we will NOT teach our students how to use a cell phone while driving.