With Spring, our thoughts turn to Prom… and safe driving: I Promise Program

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Hamilton, Canada – April 23, 2004 – With preparation for the Prom season upon us, parents’ thoughts are again turning to teen safe driving.

Car crashes are of such epidemic proportion that this year the World Health
Organization has even made road safety its primary concern. Of all road users, young drivers continue to have the highest crash record of any age group. In fact car crashes remain the leading cause of permanent injury and death in youth throughout the US and Canada.

Recognizing this epidemic, Gary Direnfeld, a social worker, developed the I Promise Program – teen safe driving initiative when his son came of driving age. The program consists of a parent-youth safe driving contract and used to include a rear window decal with a toll-free number that encouraged reports on drivers, just as seen on the back of transport trucks. The idea, while sounding great didn’t fly.

“We couldn’t help parents get over the suspicion that police or insurers might
be notified or that false reports wouldn’t be a problem,” says Direnfeld. With several hundred youths on the program, their call centre only received one call and there were no false reports. “But, perception is everything,” he says and so based on his experience he modified the program.

“With thousand’s of dollars of research and are experience, we learned that parents really valued the Parent-Youth Safe Driving Contract and wanted that most,” Direnfeld reports. So now it’s available from the website and for free.

While Prom safety is vital, Direnfeld is encouraging parents to consider their young driver’s road safety throughout the year and not just at Prom season. They statistics bear him out. Teens do die throughout the year and the summer is actually the season with the highest fatality numbers. His program was only available in the US and Canada, but as a result of his changes, it is now available worldwide.

Check out his Parent-Youth Safe Driving Contract. It’s free and available from his website: www.ipromiseprogram.com.

“We want youths to return home safely every time they use the car. We want all families to make the safe driving promise”, says Direnfeld.