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Pediatricians say promoting safe driving agreements important, feasible :

December 5, 2016

Through multiple advocacy and policy efforts, the number of U.S. teenagers dying in traffic crashes has declined significantly over the past 40 years (see figure). However, traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death among adolescents.

In 2014, 2,270 U.S. teens ages 16-19 were killed, and more than 220,000 were treated for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Academy recommends anticipatory guidance to support parents in monitoring teen driving safety. A recent study from the AAP Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) Network found that it is feasible to promote safe driving in office practice (Shope JT, et al. Clin Pediatr. 2016;55:1026-1035, http://bit.ly/2ej9ODS).

In collaboration with the PROS Network, the study authors created a brief intervention protocol, training plan, promotional materials and website adapted from the previously tested Checkpoints program (www.youngDRIVERparenting.org). A key focus of the intervention is engaging and supporting parents to create their own parent-teen driving agreement that may include rules for driving hours, number of teen passengers allowed in the car, risk-taking behaviors and seat belt use.

From March 2012 to July 2013, 133 pediatricians were trained to deliver a brief intervention and refer parents to the website. The intervention was delivered to nearly 3,500 eligible parents, and subsequently 42% of parents visited the website. Pediatricians reported delivering the intervention (averaging 4.4 minutes with parents) to 87% of their eligible parents and thought the program was important and feasible.

The study was funded by the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (1R18CE001730) and built on the Checkpoints program developed at the National Institutes of Health. The PROS Network receives core funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA UA6MC15585) and the Academy.

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