Can pediatricians successfully promote safe driving agreements between teens and parents?
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens. A study presented Monday, Oct. 28, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando evaluated a pediatric intervention that directed families to a new web-based Checkpoints safe driving program for parents of teen drivers.
In collaboration with Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS), the American Academy of Pediatrics' practice-based research network, the study authors created a brief intervention protocol, training plan, promotional materials, and a Checkpoints website, which will be sustained by the AAP.
The website includes teen driving statistics and resources that help parents keep their teen drivers safe, as well as state-specific teen driving laws and an interactive component that helps parents create their own parent-teen driving agreement including driving hours, number of teen passengers allowed in the car, and other guidelines that can be modified over time.
From March 2012 to July 2013, 133 pediatricians completed training and participated in the program. Pediatricians delivered a two-minute intervention and distributed key chains imprinted with the Checkpoints website address to families with driving-age teens. Nearly 4,000 parents were reached through the program, resulting in more than 2,111 website visits. Website visitors clicked on an average of 4.2 pages and spent an average of 3.5 minutes on the site. The pages viewed most often were those on teen driving risks, account registration, and state-specific teen driving laws.
The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and built upon the Checkpoints program developed at National Institutes of Health (NIH) by Bruce Simons-Morton, a coauthor on the study.
"Parents play a key role in limiting and monitoring their teens' early driving," said study author Jean Thatcher Shope, MSPH, PhD. "The parent-directed, evidence-based Checkpoints program, adapted to a user-friendly website, can help parents protect their teen drivers, and is available at no cost."
"Promoted through a brief intervention from a teen's doctor, the program encourages parents to use the recommended parent-teen driving agreement and other resource materials to help their teen drivers stay safe," Shope said.