‘Rookie Driver’ designation taking off

 Are You Worried Now That Your Teen Is Driving?  “Finally, a ‘New Driver’ car magnet my teenager is willing to accept….” CLICK HERE to see.

Updated: Oct 24, 2007 11:47 AM EST

coreAdsCreate(‘wnsz_20’, ‘loc’, ‘100’);

GRAND HAVEN — Corinne Fortenbacher turned her nervous energy about her teenage son driving into a business and an effort to help others.

She founded the website rookiedriver.net after her own bad experience shortly after her son, Austin, got his driver’s permit. “A semi came up behind us and was right on our tail, and (Austin) was looking in the rearview mirror and I said ‘It’s OK, you’re doing everything fine,'” she told 24 Hour News 8. “But he said ‘That guy’s right on me,’ and I’m like, ‘It’s OK.’ Then the guy beeped his horn at him, and he turned around and I said, ‘No, no, keep your eyes on the road. You’re doing fine.'”

Once she got home, she looked for online help and found nothing cool enough for Austin to agree with her. So they came up with Rookie Driver. Austin said the catchy phrase and hip design makes the sign on the car less awkward.

Corinne said parent concerns have boosted saled and helped spread the word. Mentions in Newsweek magazine and the Chicago Tribune didn’t hurt, and she now has orders from 44 states and Canada.

AAA statistics show Michigan teen fatalities decreased nearly 25 percent since 1997. But in 2006, there were more than 120,000 teen accidents, 327 fatals. Most teen accidents happen between 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., and 61 percent take place on city and county roads.

“No one can eliminate accidents,” she said, “but parents can take every safety measurement possible.”

Source:  http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7258645

Building Support for National Teen Driver Safety Week


Are You Worried Now That Your Teen Is Driving?  “Finally, a ‘New Driver’ car magnet my teenager is willing to accept….” CLICK HERE to see. 

Building Support for National Teen Driver Safety Week

 On September 5, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill, establishing every third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  Corinne Fortenbacher, a leading supporter of teen driver safety, says the new bill has gotten very little national attention and she is looking to the media for help in spreading the word. 

According to its’ sponsors, the goal of National Teen Driver Safety Week is to focus on the development and communication of effective methods to help reduce crashes involving teen drivers.  Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) introduced the bill.  An identical bill, introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), awaits approval in the U.S. Senate. 

Fortenbacher, president of Rookie Driver.Net, is issuing news releases to over 2000 media outlets in hopes of getting the national media to concentrate on joining others across the country to increase awareness about teen driver safety October 15-20.  Rookie Driver.Net is an online provider of teen driver safety education tools and products. 

“We’re trying to bring national media attention to the issue of teen driving safety because more needs to be done to prevent teen crashes, the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S.,” Fortenbacher says.  “The week is dedicated and intended to inspire dialogue within communities – among teenagers, between teens and their parents, among parents, and among civic leaders – about the causes of and solutions to crashes.”

State Farm Insurance and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia  (CHOP) are actively joining in support of National Teen Driver Safety Week.  They share an alliance in ongoing research and outreach initiatives that can ultimately help reduce the risk of crash injury for teen drivers and those that share the road with them, according to CHOP’s and State Farm’s websites. 

Rookie Driver.Net’s products are designed by teens and can be found at http://www.RookieDriver.Net. The firm has grown from a single product, launched in 2006, to a leading online provider of safety aids. Visit their teen driving safety blog at https://rookiedriver.wordpress.com/.

Or, visit Rookie Driver.Net’s Media Room at



Corinne Fortenbacher, President

Rookie Driver.Net


Email: Corinne@RookieDriver.Net 

Website: http://www.RookieDriver.Net

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

More about the latest research on teen driving, along with safe driving
recommendations for teens and their parents are available at:
About State Farm
For more information, please visit:


# # #

                       # # #

Unsafe Driving Behaviors to Watch for with Your Teen


Are You Worried Now That Your Teen Is Driving?  “Finally, a ‘New Driver’ car magnet my teenager is willing to accept….” CLICK HERE to see.



Because teen driving crashes are such a problem nationally, research organizations (often sponsored by insurance companies) conduct studies to determine the underlying cause of crashes. One recent study caught our attention — and points out that we may not always know exactly what our teens do when they’re alone in the car. The study was published in September, 2006 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and their partner organization, National Organization for Youth Safety. 

The study team held a total of 16 focus groups with boys and girls between 16 and 18 from four cities — Atlanta, GA, Fort Lee, NJ, Minneapolis, MN and Seattle, WA.  The goal of the study was to document the kind of driving behaviors average teens engage in, and then to learn what kind of public messaging would be effective in alerting teens to the risks involved. You can read (or download the entire 92-page study as a PDF) by clicking Teen Unsafe Driving Behaviors: Focus Group Final Report

Following are a few of the surprising comments taken verbatim from the study report (with emphasis added):

When asked what might cause teenage boys to change their risky driving behaviors, several boys replied that they…

  • …might not always drive responsibly [and] they did not believe they should or would change their behaviors.
  • “They generally felt that they were in control of their vehicles and would not change their behaviors until perhaps they were older and had children.
  • “While they did feel responsible for the people in their cars, most felt that their friends knew their driving habits, and by agreeing to ride with them, they were accepting the risk.

When these boys were asked what scares them most about being responsible for a serious crash, they mentioned these fears:

  • Fear of going to jail
  • Fear of the guilt that would come from killing someone else
  • Fear of losing parent’s trust
  • Fear of ‘breaking parent’s heart if I died’
  • When pressed, they indicated that they would not want to die, but if they killed someone else it might be better to have died themselves.

Girls reported other fears:

  • Increased insurance cost
  • Wrecking a car
  • Telling parents
  • Guilt about hurting or killing someone
  • ‘How will I pay for all the expense?’

One girl reported that she does not see anything [about her driving behavior] changing if she had a bad crash, unless maybe she killed someone. Her parents are not going to take her car away because “they are not about to start driving me around again.”The girls also “…made a point of talking about eating with forks as being a problem (more than just eating a sandwich). Apparently they frequently try to eat things like pasta that require utensils. This means the driver has to balance a plate in her lap and use a fork, all while trying to steer. They frequently spill food, which causes another distraction. While they all acknowledge that this is a bad idea, they do not anticipate changing their behavior or their menu choices.
Read the entire report here

source:       NHTSA logo

Just for teens? Why not big kids, too?

Are You Worried Now That Your Teen Is Driving?  “Finally, a ‘New Driver’ car magnet my teenager is willing to accept….” CLICK HERE to see.

Massachusetts is considering a ban of cell phones for teens when driving. My question is this: why stop there? Why limit this to teens?

According to The Boston Channel, Mass lawmakers tried to accomplish this last year but failed. If successful, the ban would include all cell phone use: talking, texting, button pushing, surfing. 911 calls are excluded from the ban, which is also appropriate. Parents and teens interviewed all seem to support this bill, which is all good news. And, penalties sound appropriately stiff: 1 year suspension of license or learner’s permit and a $250 fine.

If you take a moment to look at teen driving statistics by the CDC you will immediately ask yourself why similar steps are not being taking in other states. Currently 16 states have such laws and if this law passes in Mass it will become the 17th. The CDC has some interesting, and sobering, stats on our young drivers:

According to the CDC, “(m)otor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group (CDC 2006). However, research suggests that the most strict and comprehensive graduated drivers licensing programs are associated with reductions of 38% and 40% in fatal and injury crashes, respectively, of 16-year-old drivers (Baker et al. 2007).” And, not surprisingly, alcohol, increased speed, other teen passengers and things that distract all add to risk factors for accidents.

You can find some very useful information on teen driving and keeping your teens safe on Nationwide Mutual Insurance’s new Web site: www.NationwideSmartRide.com. Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President of Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has developed a Q&A to help parents better understand teens and their driving habits that she has allowed me to share with you:

What has the most influence – drivers’ ed, parents or teaching instructors?
Graduated driver licensing and parental involvement are both important factors in preventing teen crashes. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research and a recent study from Nationwide both found that parents have a tremendous impact—for better or worse—on their children’s driving habits. Nationwide found that more than 76 percent of children view their parents as driving role models. And IIHS has found that teens whose parents had violations or crashes on their records were more likely to have a violation or crash on their own records compared with teens whose parents had none.Why are teen drivers more at risk?As parents, we tend to think of driving as second nature. We forget that the seemingly simple act of running to the store requires us to make multiple decisions each and every moment we’re behind the wheel. Inexperience and lack of maturity impact how a teen processes and acts upon these myriad of choices. The good news is that parents can help by practicing smart driving habits themselves—the Nationwide survey found that more than 80 percent of children and young adults ages 10 to 18 pay attention to their parents’ driving.

What behaviors put teen drivers most at risk?

IIHS has found that some of the most risky behaviors exhibited by teen drivers include speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and not paying attention to the task of driving or to their surroundings. The Nationwide survey suggests that some of these behaviors are picked up from parents’ driving habits. The survey found more than half of children have observed their parent multi-tasking behind the wheel, arguing with a friend or passenger, and/or arguing and yelling at other drivers. Eighty percent said they observed a parent exceeding the speed limit.

Are Graduated Licensing Laws the answer to improving teen safety?

Graduated licensing laws are effective at reducing teen crashes, but the strength of these laws varies from state to state, and they don’t replace the need for sound parenting. Stressing to your child the importance of these laws helps, but one of the most important influences parents can have is to set their own driving rules for their beginning driver regardless of how strong the law in their state is. The most effective rules for parents to enforce may be the toughest, especially for parents hoping to end their role as chauffeur. Especially during a teen’s first year of driving, parents should institute restrictions to keep their teen out of the most dangerous situations. The rules should prohibit driving with other teens in the car and beginners shouldn’t be allowed to drive any later than 9 or 10 p.m.

What else can parents do to help increase the safety of their teen drivers?

There are many things parents can do to help. The Nationwide survey shows even younger children pay attention to parents’ driving habits and view them as role models. Demonstrating good driving habits themselves, avoiding distracting behavior such as cell phone use and using time in the car to coach good driving habits (including acknowledging when they’ve made a mistake) all help give children a head start. Parental influence extends to the vehicle a teen drives as well. IIHS has also found that too many new drivers are driving cars that don’t afford the best protection in crashes. Teens should not be driving small cars, because they’re not as protective as bigger cars in collisions. Nor should they be driving SUVs or pickups, as these vehicles are more likely to roll over in crashes. Help teens make smart choices about the car they drive.

By the way, there is a proposal in the works in Massachusetts for adults drivers similar to the teen proposal but that one would allow hand-free gizmos. To be honest, I don’t see those as any better. Have you seen people yabbering away hands-free?? They are more focused on their conversation then the road.

So, for our teens, we need to do what we can to limit their distractions to help them learn to drive safely. They get in their own way enough at their ages.

For us adults, we don’t need to use our cars as portable office. Perhaps we’d all be less stressed out if we used the driving time to and from work to chill as opposed to using to to squish more work time from our day. Just a thought but honestly is that last call of the day worth tempting fate for?? I’m thinking now and I’m getting really tired dodging people on the road because they have not even seen me coming while yabbering in their 4 wheel something or other.

Source: http://pediatricsnow.blogspot.com/2007/09/just-for-teens-why-not-big-kids-too.html