First Impact New Driver Parent Education Offered at Monroe City High School

by Abbey Gerveler

Last Wednesday, a New Driver Parent Education event was hosted by First Impact, a 90-minute evidence-based traffic safety program, at Monroe City High School. Parents were educated about Missouri’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) law and provided with tools needed to monitor, coach and support their new teen driver.

“It’s a great program and the best part is that it’s not preaching at you to do anything other than start that important conversation with your child,” said retired conservation agent and speaker Marsha Jones. Jones has been with the program since it first started two years ago. “This is their first really big grown-up thing that they are doing on their own away from you and the more positive input you can have into making that a great opportunity for them is a segue into the adult relationship you want with your child.”

The goal of First Impact is to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents that youth are involved in as well as resulting injuries and fatalities by increasing parental awareness and enforcement of Missouri’s Graduated Driver License law. The Missouri GDL law is a three-step licensing system that aims at easing teens into licensure. The statewide program is available free of charge and parents learn about teen driving risks, GDL monitoring, and enforcement, as well as the importance of being a positive role model within the course time frame.

“You’re their first impact,” Jones said to parents in attendance. Over a dozen parents and teen drivers were present for the program. “You’re the ones who are going to be helping your children make those big decisions.”

First Impact also features a video about a real-life event in which a 17-year old girl becomes distracted in her vehicle and loses control, resulting in a fatal crash. By sharing the video, the program attempts to reduce teen crashes, injuries, and fatalities by warning parents and teens drivers of the risk involved with teen drivers.

“This is something pretty important to get out on a ground level of helping people start to drive,” said Retired LEO and speaker Bob McWilliams. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, and if you just look at it as guiding around a 2,000-pound bullet, you have to learn and do this thing right. What we are doing here will be something that will help.”