Rally gives new spin to teen driver safety

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

State Farm insurance company is trying a new approach to keep teen drivers safe on the road.

Instead of using scare tactics, The company held a “Celebrate My Drive,” rally Saturday at Tysons Corner to celebrate safe driving and bring teens and communities together. The event was among 400 similar rallies held across the country, perhaps the biggest one-day gathering of teen drivers, State Farm spokeswoman Anna Bryant says.

“We really feel a better way to get through to teens is to create a positive and empowering environment for them,” she says. According to Bryant it’s all about keeping the kids engaged.

“We’re really trying to make a positive conversation around teen driver safety,” Bryant says.

The first year on the road for a teen driver is the most dangerous because the chances of a crash is the greatest during this initial learning period. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Tara Condon brought her young driver to the Tyson’s Corner rally. Condon says it’s important for her daughter, a Centreville High School senior, to be there. “We want her to make it, to live a long life.”

Bryant says it’s critical for parents to continue talking to their teens about driving even after their kids get their licenses. She says teens value talking to their parents and they trust the advice parents give on driving.

Research by State Farm and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found a sharp decline in parent-teen talks about driving after a teen has his or her driver’s license.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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