'Stopped' Program Keeps Parents of Teen Drivers Informed
Like most mothers, Jennifer Stiles was nervous when she watched her teenage son get behind the wheel for the first time. But, before he ever pulled out of the driveway, she enrolled in the Michigan Sheriffs' Association's "Stopped" Program.
"It felt like you were having somebody watch out for your children when you're not with them. It's a big step when they get their license I think, on the parents part to trust them to do that, so this felt like there was someone else watching," said Stiles.
The free program contacts parents whenever their child is pulled over, for any reason, up to age twenty-one. Police officers know a child is enrolled when they see a particular sticker on the windshield.
"This is an opportunity for the street cop to see this 'stop' sticker and say, 'Hey, I've got a parent here who's involved in their child's life.' They can e-mail them, they can text them, and they can send them a letter. We encourage the parents to give us any way they'd like to be communicated with," said Terrence Jungel, of the Michigan Sheriff's Association.
But what do the kids think about it? A survey by SAAD found seventy-five percent of teens said they would not tell their parents if they were stopped by police.
"His attitude was, if I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not going to get in trouble. And he hasn't gotten a ticket, so he's okay with it," said Stiles.
Stiles' son has been cautious. Not only has he avoided tickets, but he has also avoided accidents. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people.
"With twenty-five thousand vehicles registered, we have yet to our knowledge, policed a fatality with one of the program's stickers on the windshield," said Jungel.
The sticker serves as the watchful eyes of parents, and seems to be encouraging good driving .
When parents are contacted about a stop, they are given the time and location, the drivers name and number of passengers, the reason for the stop, and whether any citations were issued.
If you'd like to sign you and your child up, you can visit www.misheriff.org.