NJM: Regional partnerships can improve safety of teen drivers

Report, released during National Teen Driver Safety Week, shows impact collaborative approach can have on reducing teen car crashes

NJM Insurance Group in West Trenton. (File photo)

It makes sense: If you want to teach teen drivers to drive more safely, use a high-tech virtual driving experience to show them.

The experience, which comes as part of a collaboration that NJM Insurance Group has with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, was just one of the action items listed in a report NJM released Tuesday, in connection with National Teen Driver Safety Week.

The report, “Improving Teen Driver Safety through Partnerships,” describes NJM’s collaborative approach with regional partners to administer and support evidence-based programing that empowers students, parents and teachers with the resources they need to be safe behind the wheel.

NJM Consumer Safety Director Violet Marrero said working with teen drivers before they get behind the wheel is important — and can be lifesaving.

“Teens have disproportionally high crash rates and are at the highest risk of all demographic groups to lose their lives in a car crash,” she said. “NJM’s strategic safety partnerships across the region are designed to equip the communities we serve with valuable information and tools that will help our youngest drivers develop safe driving skills.”

In the partnership with CHOP, new young drivers can experience a state-of-the-art virtual driving assessment at select CHOP Primary Care Network locations as part of their visit. The assessment offers teens a comprehensive evaluation of their driving skills and tips and strategies to improve these skills, NJM officials said.

NJM also partners with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey and Impact Teen Drivers.

Supported by these relationships, NJM’s Teen Driver Safety Programs are offered at no cost to high schools in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The programs have reached more than 1.2 million parents and teens since their launch in 2013 and were recognized in 2016 by the National Safety Council for their demonstrated results in reducing behaviors among teens that lead to crashes.

Last month, Marrero was recognized for her work in the field of safety with the National Safety Council’s prestigious Marion Martin Award.