Better communication could foster safe teen driving

Former Driver's Ed instructor Willard Scissum lost his niece in a car accident. She was 21-years-old and a student in college.
Former Driver's Ed instructor Willard Scissum lost his niece in a car accident. She was 21-years-old and a student in college.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - According to The Alabama Department of Public Health, car accidents are the number one cause of deaths for people ages 16 to 24.

Parents and companies are taking this statistic seriously. There are GPS devices designed to track a teen's driving habits. But a veteran driving teacher says me it takes more than technology to keep your teen safe.

Huntsville resident Willard Scissum knows about teaching teens how to drive. The retired athletics coach taught Driver's Ed for thirty years at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville.

He started his own driving instruction business in 1999. Scissum has a personal reminder of how an accident can change someone's life forever.

"I had a niece that I lost in an accident. She was 21-years-old and a student in college. Her mother didn't live but one year, she grieved herself to death," he said.

GPS monitoring devices are on the market to help prevent such tragedies. Parents equip their teen's car with the system, which tracks the driver's speed and location.

Buckhorn High student Jonna Jones says such devices could hold teens accountable to their driving.

"I guess I wouldn't like it because I would think they don't trust me but at the same time I really don't have a reason not to have one put in there. I don't do anything really bad," said Jones.

Willard says the technology could help, but communication between parents and their teen is far more powerful.

"A lot of kids are going to rebel against that because they feel like they're trying to follow them around and check up on them and everything. But you should be able to build that trust in that child," she said.

Willard says not wearing seat belts and speeding is a big factor in unsafe teen driving.

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