Who is Fighting for our Teens’ Lives?

Teen Driving Safety Advocate Declares ‘Parents Must Fight For Their Teens’ Lives’

Vehicle crashes are killing our youth at an alarming rate, according to Corinne Fortenbacher, a leading teen driving safety advocate.  “When comparing casualties in Iraq over the past 4 years with teen crash fatalities in 2006 alone, we lost 2.3 soldiers a day compared to 15.5 teen drivers per day,” she states.

“These comparisons are not intended, in any way, to diminish the sacrifices our service members and their families have made, but to draw attention to the epidemic that faces our nation,“ Fortenbacher says.  “Generally speaking, teens believe they are invincible; they succumb easily to peer pressure and are risk takers.  Put simply – teens start out as poor drivers due to their lack of experience.”

 “Ultimately the responsibility for teen drivers lies squarely on the shoulders of parents and teenagers,” Fortenbacher stresses.  “Parents must be involved in their teen’s life.  You must be involved in their driving experience.”  She suggests enrolling teens in the best driver’s education program available in your community.  “Is it costly?  Yes, some are more costly than others.  Is it time-consuming?  Perhaps.  Is it life saving?  Without a doubt!”

Fortenbacher states, however, that a good drivers education program is just the beginning of the process parents face teaching their teens to become safe drivers.  “Parents need to spend many hours riding with their new drivers to ensure that they learn the skills necessary to become an experienced careful driver.”

She also tells parents that they should insist the vehicle their teen is driving is clearly marked as a new driver, so other drivers can see that there is an inexperienced driver at the wheel.  “Alerting other drivers on the road allows them to anticipate common new driver mistakes.”  Fortenbacher is the co-founder, along with her 16 year-old son Austin, of RookieDriver.Net., an online provider of teen driving alert products. 

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“Our company’s products provide a clearly ‘branded’ solution to identifying a new driver’s vehicle,” Austin says.  “Unlike other student driver car magnets, Rookie Driver car magnets and stickers were designed by teens, for teens.  They have a unique style and cool name which is more acceptable to teens.  And they are easily removed when your mom or dad is driving the car.”

The Fortenbachers also have a blog providing tips on all aspects of safer teen driving and parenting tips.  “As parents, we need to be good role models when we are behind the wheel,” Corinne says.  “Inspire in your teen the confidence to say no to their peers.  Inspire in yourself the confidence to say no to your teen.  Know the graduated driver’s license law in your state; your teen does.  Wear your seat belt and your teen will also.  Make your teen understand this is not a video game they just shut off when they lose or make a mistake … this is real life and there are consequences for every decision made behind the wheel.  Many times those consequences are deadly.”

Fortenbacher emphasizes, “We all need to be aware of the severity of the problem of teen driving.  As a nation we can not accept nor ignore the nearly 6,000 teen deaths caused by inexperienced teen drivers in vehicle crashes each year.”

Fortenbacher speaks out often that the solution lies with the cooperative effort of law enforcement, educators, parents and teens.  “School districts should require a driver education class for the teens in their community.  Not a traditional drivers training class, but a class that is required for all freshmen teaching them the staggering statistics of teen driving accidents, the most common reasons for those statistics, and defensive driving techniques to help them understand and prepare for the responsibility of completing formal drivers training and ultimately being a licensed driver.” 

Finally, Fortenbacher concludes, “Be a parent to your teen, not their best friend.  Your child doesn’t need another friend. They need a parent to set boundaries and be their role model.


Corinne Fortenbacher, Co-Founder