SOURCE: Automobile Club of Southern California

Automobile Club of Southern California

October 05, 2011 13:21 ET

Auto Club Launches Teen Driver Safety Initiative

Program Includes Free Teen Membership and Driver Tracking Service for Parents, Safety Fair and Video Contest for Teens

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 5, 2011) - To commemorate Teen Safe Driving Week in October, the Automobile Club of Southern California is launching a multi-faceted program for parents to help their teens become safer drivers.

Nationally, traffic crashes rank as the No. 1 cause of death for 16-to-19-year olds, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In California during 2009, nearly 264 15- to 19-year-olds were killed and another 26,116 were injured in traffic crashes.

The Auto Club program offers parents a mixture of traditional coaching tools and state of the art technology, including an in-car device that will give parents greater control over how, where and when their newly licensed teens drive. There are teen driver safety fairs and a video contest with prizes for teens submitting the winning entries. To save parents money, there are good student discounts on insurance, a discount at the Auto Club Driving School, and a free one year teen membership for parents who add their teen driver to their Auto Club membership.

"The Auto Club has a 100-year history of traffic safety research and education," said Alice Bisno, senior vice president of public affairs. "We co-sponsored California's Graduated Driver Licensing law in 1998, which has helped reduce the number of teen crashes. Over the years, we have created a number of programs geared toward new teen drivers and their parents. This current initiative is the most comprehensive offering to date in the Auto Club's growing portfolio of parent/teen driver resources."

The Auto Club is offering a variety of resources and tools because research shows that parents and teens respond to different messages. A AAA Foundation study of teen drivers and their parents revealed that safer driving habits are more likely to be successfully adopted by teens if they hear direct, hard-hitting messages about the consequences of their actions, while parents respond best to information-based guidance. To better help both teens and parents improve driving safety, the Auto Club is offering:

  • AAA OnBoard® - a new online tool that parents can use to coach their teens through the difficult and dangerous first stages of driving. AAA OnBoard lets parents set important driving parameters -- like speed, curfew and boundary limits. If a teen driver exceeds any of these limits, a text or email message is sent to the parent in real-time. Parents can observe how well their teen is following driving guidelines and can use the information to provide their teen with the feedback and guidance necessary for safer driving. AAA OnBoard plugs into the vehicle diagnostic port to enable wireless communications between the teen's vehicle and a password-protected online portal that only the parent can access. Parents who participated in the year-long pilot program report that it improved their teens' driving behaviors, getting them to focus more on their driving and making them more aware and safer drivers. For more information about AAA Onboard please call 877-270-3356 or visit a local AAA branch.

  • Teen Video Contest - "Texting and Driving Kills, It's That Simple. Don't Tempt Fate, That Text Can Wait." Using the idea behind this statement, the Auto Club is inviting high school-aged students to create a peer-to-peer video public service announcement that highlights the negative consequences of being an unsafe or distracted driver. First prize is $2,500. The contest began Oct. 1 and students may submit entries to the Auto Club until December 31, 2011. Judging will take place in spring 2012 with the top five videos being shown on the Auto Club website, where the public can vote for the winner. (Full contest rules are available on the Auto Club's website AAA.com/contest.)

  • Teen Driver Resource Fair - To help parents and teens learn about local resources that can help them become safer drivers, the Auto Club is also partnering with San Diego community organizations, including the Trauma Research Education Foundation's (TREF) Safe Teen Driving Council to host a Teen Driver Resource Fair at Rancho Bernardo High School on Saturday, October 29 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Go to www.AAA.com/safety4teens for more information.

  • Teen Driver Safety Package & Teen Membership - Auto Club members with teen drivers can take advantage of a new teen driver safety package that includes education resources such as the Driving in California Handbook and Auto Club parent/teen driver agreement, automotive, insurance and driving school discounts, and a dependent teen membership to ensure that your teen driver has access to the Auto Club's legendary roadside assistance services.

"The most important message that we can convey to parents is to be a good role model as a driver and to be there as a coach when your teen is ready to drive," said Anita Lorz, Auto Club manger of traffic safety and community affairs. "Starting at an early age, your children are watching how you drive and what you do as you drive."

"The most important message we can give to teen drivers is that you are not invincible," Lorz added. "Do you want to be responsible to injuring or killing someone because you were distracted by a text message? Texting and driving kills -- it's that simple."

In addition to the initiatives being launched in October, the Auto Club also provides Dare to Prepare classes for parents and pre-driving age teens, a teen driving school and other online resources for teens and parents at www.AAA.com/teens.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Jeffrey Spring or Elaine Beno
    (714) 885-2333