Effects of Share the Keys (STK), a comprehensive, behavioral-based training program for parents and new teen drivers in New Jersey

Document Type


Publication Date



The New Jersey Graduated Driver License (GDL) restrictions were updated in 2010 with changes that included a more active role of parents monitoring practice driving with their teens. In addition to extending the driving phases, there were new curfew and passenger limit restrictions. Teen drivers were also required to use red decals on license plates to identify themselves as inexperienced drivers. The Division of Highway Traffic Safety had partnered with the Motor Vehicle Commission in the past to produce practice driving guides for parents of teen drivers, but recognized the need to support this type of informational campaign with an educational program for helping parents to understand changes in the GDL and recognize the importance of their role in the GDL monitoring process. In 2010, the New Jersey Parent/Teen Driver Orientation program was developed to educate parents of teen drivers on the new GDL restrictions and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) findings concerning the importance of parenting roles in teen driver safety. Additional resources were incorporated into the orientation that included the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) community based information and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) parent-teen driver contracts. This community-based training, known as the New Jersey Parent/Teen Driver Orientation was later renamed Share the Keys, and had been developed for the state as a component of the New Jersey Highway Safety grant received by Kean University. The comprehensive program was designed to engage parents, teens, educators, and law enforcement in the teen driving process and help parents to understand how personal parenting styles and engagement may impact teen crash risk and compliance with the GDL restrictions. Local representatives from traffic safety and law enforcement teamed with school officials and driver education teachers to present programs in their communities. The evaluation process was built into the program as a pre-survey administered at the beginning of the session, a post-survey completed directly afterward, and a voluntary follow-up survey completed on line or mailed, beginning six months later. Evidence from the first year showed that parents maintained a significant level of engagement throughout the GDL process with their teen drivers. However, findings did establish the need to further examine why Authoritative parenting styles had declined, especially since this parenting approach was considered in the literature as most effective in reducing teen crash risks. Therefore, the scope of this study was broadened to a three year effort that reached over 2800 parents and investigated behavioral outcomes impacted by Share the Keys. While comparisons made between driving phases and parenting styles had yielded no significant results, changes within parenting style scores were shown to be effective over time. The reported levels of Permissive and Uninvolved parents remained consistent throughout all three driving phases, while Authoritarian parenting peaked during the Probationary phase, and Authoritative parenting was noted as highest once teens earned their license.

Publication Title

Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour

First Page Number


Last Page Number




This document is currently not available here.