EL DORADO HILLS — Moms Debbie Kenny and Kari Eide are doing everything possible to keep the new drivers in their families from becoming statistics.
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Kenny, 44, has 17-year-old Madi and another about to turn 15. Eide, 44, just saw her her son Parker celebrate 17. Driving is a frequent dinner table topic in both households.
But these statistics aren’t easy to swallow.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds, according to a research report by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm. The report also states that 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age and are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than other drivers. Boys have fewer accidents than girls, but constitute two-thirds of teenage motor vehicle fatalities.
Of the teens who died in car crashes in 2008, 81 percent were passengers; 63 percent were in vehicles driven by another teenager, the report continues.
The numbers alarmed Kenny and Eide so they thought it would be helpful to share what they learned, raise awareness of what it takes to get a teenager licensed to drive and explain how to keep them safe in the process. They initially thought about creating a Website then realized an iPhone app would also be useful, especially to teens. In the end, with help from programmer Alan Leard, they did both.
Now anyone can visit calteendriverguide.com or download Calteendriver at the iTunes store.
Their research extends beyond the many laws to which new drivers must adhere, and includes best driving schools and best practices. Quizzes, safety checklists, a parent-teen driving contract, and a list of safe and practical cars for teens are also on the Website and part of the app.
“My friends think having the information in one place telling us what to do and when to do it makes it easy,” said Madi, “and having the practice tests on the app is cool.”