Raising North Dakota: Teaching teens responsible driving

Local News

According the Centers for Disease Control, traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death among teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths.

But there are ways we can keep our teens safe on the road.

Alysia Huck explains in this segment of Raising North Dakota.

Your teen is officially a new driver, they’re excited to cruise Main with friends, blast the radio and be free, but with this newfound freedom comes risks.

Being a parent of two teenagers, Fred Nordstrom knows all too well that kids will be kids, and they don’t always make the decisions we hope for when behind the wheel.

Fred Nordstrom, father, “Unfortunately teens think they are invincible and they don’t know everything. They are not bullet proof, and all we can do is arm them with the knowledge we can pass on to them and hopefully they’ll make the right decisions.”

And Lieutenant Jeff Solemsaas says we can’t ever assume our kids will make the right choice when it comes to driving.

Lieutenant Jeff Solemsaas, BPD, “Most kids at that age don’t think long term consequences, they just don’t contemplate what are potential risks of something and I think that that is driving life in general. They just don’t have that ability to long term consequences of their actions now.”

When you combine a lack of foresight, peer pressure and speed, it can spell disaster.
And while drag racing, burnouts and spinning donuts may not be anything new, Lieutenant Solemsaas says authorities have seen it happening more often, especially during the lockdown.

Solemsaas, “There weren’t as many people moving around, which tended to let people drive a little faster because not as much traffic as typically is.”

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Solemsaas, “The parental role is paramount, obviously. They have to have that consistant, solid, good foundation just to be a safe driver, to drive defensively, understand the rules of the road. Know what your kids are doing when out driving around. How are they behaving.”

And with the technology right at our fingertips, it’s quite easy to be involved.

Nordstrom, “My wife has Life 360 on her phone, my girls have it on their phones. You get to see their speed, location, and anything that’s a hard brake, you’ll get a notification. You can ask what happened with the situation, you can ask why they had a hard brake.”

And ultimately, it allows you to be actively involved in your teen’s driving habits.

There are a number of apps to help reduce the likelihood that your teen will speed, text and drive, or other risky behaviors while driving.

Click here for a list of driver training schools in North Dakota.

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