By Example is a community service organization dedicated to
advancing driver safety through initiatives that address
America’s most important roadway safety priorities, including
distracted driving prevention and teen driver protection.
By Example works with schools, business firms, associations,
community groups, and others to develop and implement effective
driving safety programs. The DBE program provides the platform for
a sustained, comprehensive driver safety campaign that is geared
to raise driver competency and improve the overall driving
contrast to many traditional driver safety campaigns, which target
certain negative driving behaviors, the Drive By Example safety
message applies to all drivers at every stage of life.
Whether a teenager, young adult, or parent, our core
objective is for all drivers to model the safe driving habits and
behaviors that protect themselves, their passengers, and others on
Drive By Example is expanding to include 3 primary driving
safety initiatives. For details, go to Driving Safety Initiatives.
By Example is
led by Douglas R. Horn, a Kansas City lawyer with over 20 years of
experience in motor vehicle accident law and crash litigation.
Since 2008 Horn has devoted a significant amount of his time to
driver safety advocacy. His most recent press release is listed
Driving Safety Update
can parents do to protect the lives of young teen drivers on the
Parents Hold the Key to Curb Recent Surge
in Teen Driver Fatalities, says Expert
interview with Driving Safety Expert Douglas R. Horn,
Founder of Drive
with the passing of teen driver protection and anti-texting laws,
the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has reported a
19 percent surge in new teen driver fatalities for the first half
Many experts are attributing the uptrend in
teen fatalities to increased road use by young drivers due to an
improved economy. But
driving safety expert Douglas R. Horn says the GSHA’s numbers
are telling him a different story.
We have a soaring number of new teen driver
fatalities because parents are setting bad examples for their
children on the roadways,” says Horn, a
crash attorney and founder of Drive
by Example. “Studies
show that kids emulate the attitudes and behaviors of their
parents, and this fact is no more evident than in the area of
Horn says a recent 2013 local survey of adult
drivers conducted by the TREDS Program at the
revealed that an alarming number of adults - 82 percent -
reported using a phone while driving.
The researchers also found that 63 percent of parents with
children aged 12 to 17 used a phone while their children were
riding in the car, and 31 percent texted while their children were
riding in the car.2
“With so many parents failing to set good
examples for their children, it’s easy to see why so many 16 and
17-year-old drivers chose to disregard both the law and common
sense to talk, text, and interact with smart phones applications
while behind-the-wheel, instead of being fully attentive to the
task of operating their vehicle,” says Horn.
Horn says the solution to reducing the number
of new teen driver deaths on the highway is twofold:
Distracted driving prevention efforts directed at adult
“The need to be
‘connected’ to friends, family, and co-workers combined with
the proliferation of smart phones has placed adult drivers in “a
new universe of risk” for experiencing violent impact and
serious injury on the highway,” says Horn.
“Most adults, when accurately informed about the
heightened risk of severe injury and fatality associated with
distracted driving, will take the necessary steps, including
correcting their behind-the-wheel behavior, to protect themselves
and their families. A
parent properly educated about the dangers of distracted driving
becomes a better role model and instructor for the child, and will
have a positive impact on that child’s driving.”
Strengthen teen driver protection laws by requiring
In addition to
stepping up distracted driving prevention campaigns aimed at
parents, Horn says we also need to strengthen state Graduated
Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, which regulate the teen driver
licensing process. “Typically,
these laws place restrictions on the teen’s late night driving
and set passenger limits. However, most states fail to engage
parents in the process,” says Horn.
“This is a big mistake, especially because we are heavily
relying on parents to enforce the state's GDL restrictions.”
As an example of a
successful GDL program, Horn points to
, a state he says is “at the top of the charts” when it comes
to implementing programs that engage and educate parents to
forward teen driver protection.
laws require that parents of new teen drivers attend a two-hour
class to brush up on the rules of the road and review safe
driving practices,” says Horn.
“By taking part in this training session, parents are
better prepared to intelligently instruct and advise their child
during their child’s 40 hours of parentally-supervised
highway driving required by the state.”
Horn suggests the
two-hour parental training class required by the
law may help to explain why
teen driver deaths in the 16-17 year old category recently
declined while the rest of the states experienced a 19% surge.
“We feel these strategies will be most
effective in protecting
’s most vulnerable class of drivers,” says Horn.
“Parents hold the keys in more ways than you might