The Dutchess County Division of Youth Services and the Putnam County Youth Bureau have collaborated on the “Parents as Driving Partners” initiative, aimed to foster safer driving habits and creating safe drivers by encouraging active involvement and shared responsibility between teens and their parents during the early stages of driving.
Through the new program, teenagers who receive their learner’s permit at their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in Dutchess or Putnam will also receive a “Parents as Driving Partners” booklet. In addition to providing teens and their parents with driving tips and resources to become safe motorists, the booklet includes a Parent/Teen Driving Agreement, a mutual pledge to commit to working together to promote safe driving practices, abide by traffic rules, and avoid distractions while on the road.
The pact urges parents to support their child during their driving, teach proper techniques and model safe driving behaviors for them. The agreement also asks teens to obey safety rules and regulations, never drive while impaired, drive only with parental permission and never drive while using a cell phone.
Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall said, “Driving a motor vehicle is a great undertaking – one which, if not handled responsibly, can have grave impacts on drivers, their passengers and those with whom they share the road. Dutchess and Putnam counties encourage teen drivers and their parents to take the ‘Parents as Driving Partners’ pledge and make developing safe driving habits a shared effort.”
Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Dutchess County on the ‘Parents as Driving Partners’ initiative. By promoting active engagement and shared accountability between teenagers and their parents, we can cultivate an environment that promotes safer roads, more responsible drivers. Any measures we can take to help prevent motor vehicle accidents should be implemented.”
The “Parents as Driving Partners” program recognizes the pivotal role parents play in shaping their teen’s driving behavior and aims to establish a strong foundation of responsible driving habits. By actively engaging parents and teenagers, the program encourages open communication, cooperative learning, and adherence to traffic regulations, ensuring safer roads for all.
Appointments can be made at dutchessny.gov/dmv for any of the four DMV offices in Dutchess County, located at:
• Poughkeepsie – 22 Market Street
• Beacon – 223 Main Street
• Millbrook – 15 Merritt Avenue
• Wappinger – 29 Marshall Road, Hollowbrook Park #3
In Putnam County, the DMV office is located at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate or not be able to recognize dangerous situations; they’re also more likely than adults to make critical errors that can lead to serious crashes. The presence of teen or young adult passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; this risk increases with each additional teen or young adult passenger.
About 2,800 teens in the United States ages 13–19 were killed, and about 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, according to the CDC. The motor vehicle crash death rate for male drivers ages 16–19 years was three times as high as the death rate for female drivers in the same age group in 2020.
A branch of the Dutchess County Division of Community and Family Services, Dutchess’ Division of Youth Services works to assure every youth a fair and equal opportunity to attain his/her full potential with services to strengthen family life and support families in the essential function of nurturing the youth’s overall development. Additional information is available on the Division of Youth Services webpage.
The Putnam County Youth Bureau serves youth who are at risk of becoming involved or further involved in the juvenile justice or human services system. The bureau specifically aims to divert youth from placement in out-of-home settings. Additional information is available at on the Youth Bureau’s website.