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Do teen drivers fear parents more than police?

March 20, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Sheriffs notify parents of teen drivers who get pulled over

What if every time a teen driver was pulled over, parents were notified? As an injury attorney who handles countless crash cases involving inexperienced teen drivers who make novice mistakes, I can say that I’m very sure such a move would prevent auto accidents.

Well, it’s here in Michigan.

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association is now sponsoring a program called STOPPED (Sheriffs Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers) with the goal of reducing the number of car accidents involving young drivers.

Here’s how it works (at no cost):

Parents can enroll the vehicle here.

Then, a  “STOP” decal is affixed to your car window with an assigned number issued for that sticker to ID the vehicle. They may also be applied to ORVs, watercraft, motorcycles, etc.

If a young person under age 21 in your family is stopped for any reason, the police officer will complete a notification card that will be mailed to parents, providing the following:

  • Time and location of traffic stop,
  • Driver’s name and number of passengers,
  • Reason for the traffic stop and,
  • Whether a traffic ticket was issued.

Here are some frequently asked questions about STOPPED  and here’s a list of participating counties. If you have further questions, contact your county sheriff’s office.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 vehicles registered in the program. But word is starting to spread, and with more than 100,000 new teen drivers each year, the numbers of teens involved could skyrocket.

I know with some families, teen drivers will consider mom and/or dad being informed far worse a consequence than the police alone!

While I might be poking a bit of fun at the thought, the reality is that the dangers of car accidents involving teens is very serious.  And as an accident lawyer who has litigated cases involving people terribly injured by teen drivers, programs like STOPPED might play an important role in stopping otherwise preventable car accidents.

Consider the statistics on teen car accidents from the National Safety Council:

  • Car accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for teens.
  • One out of five 16-year-olds will be in a car crash.
  • During the first six months and first 1,000 miles of driving, crash risk is the highest it will be during a lifetime.
  • Although young drivers only represent 13 percent of all licensed drivers, they cause 28 percent of all car accidents and 24 percent of all fatal crashes.

STOPPED is a worthwhile  program with an important safety goal.  Teens might not like it very much, but if  law enforcement and parents (or the threat of parents finding out) can prevent teen car accidents and teen distracted driving, we all win.

For those of you who live in Oakland County (near our Michigan Auto Law Farmington Hills law offices), Sheriff Michael Bouchard is participating in STOPPED.

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association is a non-profit organization comprised of elected Michigan Sheriffs and citizen and business members from across the state, which provides training and services to Michigan Sheriffs.

Related information:

How do you talk to your teen about safe driving?

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