At a time when few schools offer driver’s education, the state transportation department hopes a new safe-driving guide provides some direction for young driver—and their parents. The department’s “Road Wise” guide targets teenagers, who are more likely to die in a traffic crash than by any other way.  The guide includes traffic laws, driving lessons, and even practice sessions. One focus is on the opportunities and responsibilities for young drivers during each stage of their graduated license process.

Department spokesman Melissa Black says the guide tells parents how to teach their children the basic rules of the road, limits on the number of passengers they can have, how to park–and other driving skills parents can teach their children.

But it won’t tell nervous parents how to keep from screaming and grabbing the dashboard at certain times.   “I don’t know if you can teach that,:” she says. “But  we certainly do encourage them…to remain calm and to be as supportive as possible.”  ”

The department says only nine percent of Missouri’s drivers are younger than 21, but they were involved in 24 percent of all traffic crashes last year. More than 100 teenagers 15-20 were killed in crashes last year. Three-fourths of them were not wearing seat belts.

The booklets are available at revenue department branch or fee officers, Highway Patrol drivers exam offices, or on the MODOT website, where it’s a downloadable PDF file.

 Melissa Black talks to Bob Priddy 6:04 mp3