New teen driving program aims to increase parent involvement

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A new teen driving program introduced Wednesday aims to help parents teach their kids safe driving habits.

The program, called The Parent's Supervised Driving Program, will promote additional involvement from parents in the driving education process while young drivers have their learner's permits. It is a collaborative effort between the Idaho Transportation Department, the State Department of Education, and Ford Motor Co.

"It's our job as parents to teach our is," parent Shauna Sauer said. "We appreciate all the help that is out there from others but it still comes down to us."

Following drivers education courses, students are required to log at least 50 hours of driving time with an adult in the car.

"When we send our kids to driver's ed, they learn the basics," parent Sheri Rogers said. "How to hit the brakes, how to change lanes and how to follow the traffic signals, but it is really that day-to-day practice with parents that helps reinforce and problem solve."

Both the Rogers and Sauer families have lost a child in a car crash.

Bobby Rogers, son of Duke and Sheri Rogers, was driving with his friends on a rural highway at night when their car left the roadway and tumbled down an embankment. He was not wearing his seat belt.

Clay and Shauna's daughter, Taylor, was killed in a crash on her way home from college. She was texting and driving when she ran into the back of a semi-truck.

Both families thought they had done enough to prepare their teens for driving on their own, but now are left with questions.

"We will ask ourselves for a very long time, did we talk to Taylor enough about texting and driving?" Sauers said. "I mean, we had, but you know could we have done more as parents? It's a guilt you carry."

Since then, both the Sauer and Rogers families have been speaking out about the importance of safe driving. They say this program is important in facilitating better conversation between parents and their new drivers.

"We don't speak the same language and what they're learning in class is different than what we learned so many years ago," Duke Rogers said. "So, it helps to bridge that gap so we can have better depth of information that we're sharing with them."

While they hope more information, and more involvement from parents will help cut down the number of fatal and serious injury car crashes, the families both agree the parents will have a big responsibility, even after they hand over the car keys.

"It comes down to the example," Shauna Sauer said. "You can talk all you want but then if you get in your car and start texting or don't put on your seat belt it is saying volumes to these kids."

The program is voluntary. The booklets are available anywhere in Idaho where drivers can go to get their licenses.