Mackenzie Brown, 16, not only has a new drivers license but life-saving knowledge that comes with the privilege.
She has received the “speech” from her grandfather, John Purser, All State Insurance Agency, assisted by her mother, Bree Brown.
“I do listen to what they say,” Mackenzie said. “It helps me understand the consequences of not obeying the law.
“Thanks to them, I know that every second under the wheel is important. One mistake and you can die.”
The reality of this comment is found in statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council. These organizations note that more than 250 Georgia families lose a teen driver in a car accident each year.
In addition, numbers show that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young drivers ages 15-20, with teen traffic fatalities accounting for 44 percent of teen deaths in the U.S.
Purser emphasized that he does not want to see any teen become a statistic.
Georgia law requires drivers under 18 to have at least 40 hours of driving with parental supervision, six of those hours at night.
Under Georgia’s graduated driver’s license program, called the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, drivers under 18 are prohibited from driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
For the first six months after obtaining a license, drivers under 18 may only drive with family members. After the first six months, no more than three non-family members under age 21 are allowed in the car.
The graduated license law has helped reduce teen fatalities in the 44 states that have the law. In Georgia, fatal crashes have decreased by more than a third since the law was enacted in 1997, according to a study by Emory University’s Center for Injury Control.
These numbers are one of the reasons Purser shares his experiences after a teen has received a license. The session is held with the parent’s permission.
“I want each individual to benefit from my knowledge,” he said. “I talk to them about the consequences of not obeying laws and to call a police officer in event of a wreck — even a fender bender.”
He said that a driver’s story could change if an officer is not at the scene of an accident.
Purser referenced an incident involving his daughter was a teen driver and a young woman backed into her car.
“I called the young lady’s dad and he had a different idea. He thought Bree backed into his daughter’s car. After the fact, it did not matter so we agreed to eat the expense. He paid for the damage to his daughter’s car and I assumed responsibility for mine.”
He said the incident was a learning experience for Bree, who admitted it is one she will not forget.
“I value his advice and wanted the same for Mackenzie,” she said.
Purser reminded that insurance is to protect a family in event of a mistake. He also encourages teens to consider the fact that insurance costs is based on driving records. The more wrecks they have, the more it will cost their parents.
“There are other consequences of not obeying laws,” he said. “Drinking and driving never pays. It can mean no license to operate a vehicle.”
Bree said her daughter faces a new set of challenges than she experienced. She focused on cell phones, texting and driving with devices that can be a distraction for a driver, especially teens.
“In 2011, we did a texting and driving campaign at Rockmart High School,” she said. “The idea was to ask them to take a pledge that could save their life: Don’t text and drive. We also ask that young drivers pledge to designate a texter. My daughter and I share this responsibility when riding together.”
via The Rockmark Journal