The number one cause of death for teenagers is automobile crashes. Tragically, most of these crashes are preventable. Murfreesboro has taken the lead in developing initiatives to reduce teen traffic deaths.
Several years ago, Murfreesboro and Rutherford County officials developed the TeenSafe program. A pilot project of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO), TeenSafe was credited as being “the most comprehensive initiative aimed at new drivers in the country,” according to Susan Herbel, consultant to the GHSO.
The program involved education targeted to parents and teens, police training and enforcement, a city court alternative for teen driver infractions, public information and education, and an alcohol and safety belt awareness effort. Although the TeenSafe program has concluded, many elements remain relevant.
Currently, any teenager issued a traffic citation while age 16 -17 will be required to attend City Court with a parent or legal guardian. In court the judge will question the teen as to the conduct which resulted in the citation and present the teen and parent with specific information related to the graduated driver license program, the Department of Safety’s special rules for teens in the Driver Improvement Program, proper use of cell phones, and other information calculated to impress upon the teen the extreme dangers of driving, their serious obligation to drive only in a safe and responsible manner, and the consequences of failing to do so.