Teen driving in rural North Dakota: A qualitative look at parental perceptions☆
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Teen driving in rural North Dakota: A qualitative look at parental perceptions☆
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  • Alternative Title:
    Accid Anal Prev
  • Description:
    Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs allow new drivers to gain driving experience while protecting them from high-risk situations. North Dakota was one of the last states to implement GDL, and the current program does not meet all of the best practice recommendations. This study used qualitative techniques to explore parents' perceptions of the role teen driving plays in the daily lives of rural North Dakota families, their understanding of the risks faced by their novice teen drivers, and their support for GDL. A total of 28 interviews with parents of teens aged 13-16 years were conducted in four separate rural areas of the state. During the face-to-face interviews, parents described their teens' daily lives as busy, filled with school, sports, and other activities that often required traveling considerable distances. Participation in school-sponsored sports and other school-related activities was highly valued. There was nearly unanimous support for licensing teens at age 14½, as was permitted by law at the time of the interviews. Parents expressed that they were comfortable supervising their teen's practice driving, and few reported using resources to assist them in this role. Although few parents expressed concerns over nighttime driving, most parents supported a nighttime driving restriction with exemptions for school, work or sports-related activities. Despite many parents expressing concern over distracted driving, there was less consistent support among parents for passenger restrictions, especially if there would be no exemptions for family members or school activities. These findings can assist in planning policies and programs to reduce crashes among novice, teen drivers, while taking into account the unique perspectives and lifestyles of families living in rural North Dakota.
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