Orange County Introduces Teen Driving Safety Program

GOSHEN – Orange County and the STOP DWI and Traffic Safety Program have collaborated on the “Parents as Driving Partners” initiative, which fosters safer driving habits, and creating safe drivers by encouraging active involvement and shared responsibility between teens and their parents during the early stages of driving.

Orange and Putnam County officials introduced the program at a news conference on Wednesday, January 31st at the County’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office at the Government Center in Goshen.

“Safe teen driving begins well before your child gets their permit,” Orange County Sheriff Paul Arteta said. “They watch you, observe everything that you do, and then they mimic you. What you do while in the car with your child matters. It is critical you set a good example of safe driving habits in front of them, no matter how old they are. Be a part of their journey early on and take the pledge to continue when they finally reach driving age; It is worth the investment in their safety.”

Through the new program, teenagers who receive their learner’s permit at the DMV office will also receive a “Parents as Driving Partners” booklet. In addition to providing teens and their parents with driving tips and resources to become safe motorists, the booklet includes a Parent/Teen Driving Agreement, a mutual pledge to commit to working together to promote safe driving practices, abide by traffic rules, and avoid distractions while on the road.

The pact urges parents to support their child during their driving, teach proper techniques and model safe driving behaviors for them. The agreement also asks teens to obey safety rules and regulations, never drive while impaired, drive only with parental permission and never drive while using a cell phone.

“We encourage teen drivers and their parents to take the ‘Parents as Driving Partners’ pledge and make developing safe driving habits a shared effort,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “This important program can help create more responsible drivers, which ensures the all residents are safe on out roadways.”

The “Parents as Driving Partners” program recognizes the pivotal role parents play in shaping their teen’s driving behavior and aims to establish a strong foundation of responsible driving habits. By actively engaging parents and teenagers, the program encourages open communication, cooperative learning, and adherence to traffic regulations, ensuring safer roads for all.

The County’s three DMV offices are located at:
Goshen, Government Center, 255 Main Street;
Middletown, 12 King Street; and
Newburgh, 128 Broadway.

“I am proud to be part of this initiative to give parents and guardians resources to encourage good driving habits,” County Clerk Kelly Eskew said. “As a mom, I know how important it is to have the conversation with your children and this is another tool to assist with that.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate or not be able to recognize dangerous situations; they’re also more likely than adults to make critical errors that can lead to serious crashes.

The presence of teen or young adult passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; this risk increases with each additional teen or young adult passenger.

About 2,800 teens in the United States ages 13–19 was killed, and about 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, according to the CDC. The motor vehicle crash death rate for male drivers ages 16–19 years was three times as high as the death rate for female drivers in the same age group in 2020.

“Parents play a vital role in shaping the behaviors of their child’s driving habits from the moment they first get behind the wheel to learn how to drive,” Orange County Emergency Services Commissioner Peter J. Cirigliano II said. “We know that parents become the primary role model in their teen’s development of safe driving practices, especially when it comes to abiding by the vehicle and traffic laws. Learning to drive safely from the start can greatly reduce the probability of being involved in a crash. The Parents as Safe Driving Partners Program provides parents and new teen drivers with the tools and support, they need to be successful in this. It is our hope that this new program will help initiate safe driving habits in teens that can last a lifetime and make the roadways safer for everyone.”

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