Utah Department of Public Safety

Highway Patrol - UHP Weekly Report

Teen Driving

Parents Are the Keys to Safe Teen Drivers



It's a fact: teen drivers are more likely to crash than drivers of other ages - in Utah, they're 1.5 times more likely to crash. And even though they only represent 9 percent of licensed drivers in Utah, teen drivers accounted for 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2012.

Increasingly, research shows that parents play a critical role in helping teens survive their most dangerous driving years. But, do parents recognize this critical role they play? Do they know the risks for their teens? The answers are a mixed bag, but there is no doubt that all parents want to do what's best for their teen.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has some quick parenting tips for helping to keep your teen driver safe. For full details, click here.

  •  Set clear rules, boundaries and expectations
  • It's about safety, not control
  • Be responsive
  • Recognize your teen's need to become independent
  • Let your teen know you can be counted on for help and support
  • Pay attention
  • Lead by example


Make a Parent Teen Driving Agreement


According to CHOP, developing a foundation for good communication is going to be important during your teen’s early driving years. A good way to start is through a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. By creating one together, you’ll not only practice communicating effectively with each other, but also give your teen the opportunity to express thoughts and feelings, including questioning why certain rules are in place. By jointly setting these rules, your teen is more likely to follow them.

The Parent-Teen Driving Agreement is a list of household rules for parents and teens. Some of these rules are going to be set in stone (always wear a seat belt and never text while driving), while others can be modified as time goes on (like getting home at 8 pm vs. 6 pm). You can modify your agreement to cover both the learning-to-drive and post-licensure years.

Here are some samples of Parent/Teen Agreements from trusted sources. Look them over before deciding on one that’s right for your family:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Parent/Teen Agreement
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Parent/Teen Agreement
The Checkpoints Parent/Teen Agreement

For more info, click here.




Graduated Driver License Program: What Exactly Is It?

Laws designed to help youthful drivers gain experience before being exposed to high-risk situations aren't all that well known

Many people have heard of it - the graduated driver license, or GDL. But not too many people know exactly what Utah's GDL program does. And if more parents knew about it and knew the positive benefits of making sure their teens adhere to it, they could help reduce their teens' risks of crashing.

Utah's GDL is a set of laws that are aimed at helping make sure young drivers get experience before they are exposed to higher risk driving situations - such as driving at night or driving with passengers. Are driving at night and driving with passengers really that dangerous?


The majority of fatal teen crashes take place at night.
Two or more passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel. (Find more info here)
It's not just how the passengers act in the car - in one study, teens who knew they were being observed by peers were more prone to engaging in risky behaviors.

The two laws that deal with these high risk situations for teen drivers are
During the first 6 months after teens get their license, they can’t have any passengers who aren’t immediate family members (Utah Code 41-8-3)
Under 17, no driving between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. (Utah Code 41-8-2)
There are a few exceptions to both of these.

The Utah Department of Health's Violence and Injury Prevention Program created a chart to help parents know exactly what aspects of Utah's GDL apply to their teen.


Click here or on the picture below to view the full chart.







Parents can use these GDL laws to start a conversation with their teens about why driving at night and with teen passengers is higher risk. And by knowing the laws and making sure their teens adhere to them, parents can help reduce their teens' risk of crashing.




This video has info about Utah's GDL

Resources for Parents


Teen Driver Source - from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - has easy to use guides for parents as well as sample teen driving agreements.


Utah DLD Parent 40 Hour Driving Guide - it's probably been a while since you took driver's ed - this guide will help you teach your teen to drive.


Don't Drive Stupid - site from Zero Fatalities featuring statistics, stories of teens who have lost their lives on Utah's roadways, and a list of parent presentations.








Winter Driving Conditions Ahead

In Like a Lion: With Valley Snow in the Forecast, UHP Wants to Remind Drivers - Ice and Snow, Take It Slow


UTAH (March 2, 2015) - With March coming in like a lion - valley floor snow is in the forecast for Tuesday's commute - the Utah Highway Patrol wants to remind drivers of a few basics when it comes to winter driving.


A relatively mild winter without much snow means many drivers may need a quick refresher when it comes to safe winter driving skills.


"The first thing we want drivers to remember is when there's ice and snow, take it slow," said UHP Colonel Daniel Fuhr. "When the roads are wet, snowy and icy, reducing your speed is so crucial to being able to stay in control of your vehicle and to be able to stop when and where you want."


Important tips for winter driving include the following:

  • Slow down and move over if you see emergency vehicles on the shoulder.
  • Avoid quick stops, starts and turns - smooth and gradual movements will help you stay in control of your vehicle.
  • If you have a fender bender or minor crash, call dispatch (911) and move off the freeway if possible.
  • Leave extra space between you and other vehicles, especially snowplows.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and in shaded areas — they are likely to freeze first and stay frozen the longest.
  • Watch for snow removal equipment.
  • If your vehicle starts to skid, steer into the direction of the slide. For tips on avoiding overcorrection, click here.


You can find more winter driving tips and advice here.


Videos related to winter driving (click to view)







New UHP Distracted Driving Videos

UHP Releases “Big Game Commercials”


SALT LAKE CITY, (January 29, 2015) - With traffic crashes and fatalities on the rise in Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol is expanding its efforts to educate the public about safe driving.  To capitalize on the buzz around ad for this weekend's Big Game, UHP is releasing two new videos about distracted driving..


The videos feature an actor with driving alter egos.  One persona in the UHP’s videos models safe driving-- while the other engages in all manners of distracted driving.  The videos were created on a closed course and display disclaimers about how the public should not attempt the distracted driving behaviors – it even identifies one as “illegal, dangerous and, let’s be honest, totes ridic.”


You can view the videos by clicking on the images below or on the UHP’s Facebook page http://facebook.com/UtahHighwayPatrol .







[Last Update - Wednesday, 25-Mar-2015 18:40:02 MDT]