SHERIFF'S TELLING OUR PARENTS AND PROMOTING EDUCATED DRIVERS
ENROLL YOUR VEHICLE IN STOPPED click here
LIST OF PARTICIPATING COUNTIES
Please note: Parents in any Michigan County may sign up and we will forward your request to your county sheriff.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Terrence L. Jungel
September 15, 2012 (517) 485-3135
MSA AND STATE FARM® ANNOUNCE TEEN DRIVER SAFETY PARTNERSHIP
LANSING, MI – Learning to drive is a big step in life’s journey. Michigan’s Sheriffs and State Farm agents know it takes more than a few hours behind the wheel to promote safe driving, it does indeed, take a village. According to the US Center for Disease Control, car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and their first year on the road as a new driver is the most dangerous. That’s why the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) and State Farm are partnering on two very important programs to promote safe teen driving, STOPPED (Sheriffs Telling my Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers) and Celebrate My Drive™.
On Saturday, September 15 Sheriffs and their deputies across Michigan joined State Farm Agents at ten locations to promote safe teen driving. Celebrate My Drive™ is a one-day event which took place simultaneously in over 360 locations across the country. The event was designed to foster positive relationships between teen drivers, their parents and law enforcement. A variety of equipment including driving simulators, GEM® cars, seat-belt convincers and roll-over crash simulators was available for teens to try out and experience, without the danger of a real crash.
The Celebrate My Drive™ mission mirrors that of MSA’s STOPPED program, which is to establish an open relationship between teens and their parents when it comes to driving. In 2005 the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association identified a solution for a long-term problem: teen drivers have significantly more crashes and fatalities, and often develop poor driving habits which last a lifetime during their first year of driving. These habits have a profound effect on all drivers and passengers since two-thirds of those killed in a crash caused by a teen driver are NOT the teen driver. Teens are often successful at hiding smaller infractions like speeding, which can lead to crashes, from their parents because Michigan law allows them to pay any ticket without their parents being aware of their infractions. This can lead to an escalation of poor driving habits. “We’re excited to be partnering with the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association on efforts to connect with teen drivers and their parents so we can celebrate the milestone that getting a driver’s license brings,” said Milt Bossch, Vice-President Agency for State Farm. “MSA and State Farm have a common interest in empowering teen drivers and their parents with information and resources to help keep our roadways safer for all.”
STOPPED is a simple, FREE program which is available to every family in Michigan. Parents are provided with a STOPPED decal which they place on the driver’s side of the windshield, just below the tint line. That sticker serves as a visible reminder to teens that they should always drive as if their parents are in the vehicle with them. “Parents are encouraged to work with their teens to establish their ‘rules of the road’,” said MSA Executive Director Terrence L. Jungel. “It’s important to talk about things like how many passengers your teen is allowed to have in the vehicle, how loud the radio can be played and where their cellphone should be safely stored before starting the engine.”
STOPPED does have a notification component to it as well. If the registered vehicle is pulled over for any reason a letter is sent home to parents indicating where, when and why the vehicle was stopped and how many passengers were in the car. This is done whether a citation is issued or not. “This really does open up a dialogue between teens and parents,” Executive Director Jungel added. “Because I don’t think we’ve ever sent home a letter that’s been a surprise. The teen in question usually goes home and lets his/her parents know about the stop before the letter arrives.”
In 2011 the STOPPED program received national recognition when it was identified as a Bright Idea in Government Innovation by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Ash Institute. Since receiving national recognition several other states have implemented STOPPED programs, though none as successfully as Michigan. It is Executive Director Jungel’s hope that one day soon a parent in Keweenaw will be able to register their vehicle and receive feedback on their teen’s driving even if he/she is pulled over in Key West. “With the backing of State Farm I think this program has the potential to grow nationally,” Executive Director Jungel said. “In eight years, with over 20,000 vehicles registered, we’ve never had a report of a car with a STOPPED sticker being pulled out of a ditch or a death notice being delivered to a parent whose vehicles are enrolled in the program – despite only having sent fourteen letters home to parents. More than any words, I think that speaks to how well the program opens up dialogue between parents and teen drivers and fosters safe driving. After all, what is more valuably to any of us than our children?”
# # #