Grant from State Farm to help fund Rowan-led Parent/Teen Driving Orientation Program

Grant from State Farm to help fund Rowan-led Parent/Teen Driving Orientation Program


A grant from the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company will help professors in Rowan University’s College of Education fund a program that educates teens and their parents about safe driving.

The $18,175 grant will help professors in the Health & Exercise Science (HES) Department fund their Parent/Teen Driving Orientation Program. The grant to fund the program was presented by State Farm to the Rowan University Foundation during a ceremony on Tuesday, June 10, at Williamstown High School.

Through the program, which is in three New Jersey high schools, Rowan professors provide a training program to driver’s education instructors in the schools that focuses on how teens and parents can work together to managing driving access, skills and habits.

Rowan researchers survey the parents before and after they participate in sessions provided by their schools, utilizing research data that is critical to understanding the role of parental involvement in teen driving.

“State Farm’s work with teen driver safety has been paramount in our community efforts.  We are honored to help support programs that further educate our youth and community on the need for safety behind the wheel and in the car,” says Jennifer Young, Community Relations Specialist for the company.  “Rowan University is to be commended for bringing teens and parents together for this special milestone of getting their driver’s license.”

Statistics show that vehicular crashes are the leading cause of death in school-aged children. The lack of parental involvement in helping teens develop safe driving skills, values and habits is a critical contributing factor in the mortality rate, according to Rowan HES Professor Shari Willis, principal investigator on the grant and facilitator of the Parent/Teen Driving Orientation Program, which was founded in 2011.

“We believe increased parental involvement will lead to a decrease in the number of motor vehicle violations and crashes by teen drivers, as well as an increase in adherence to the laws,” Willis says.

“This is an under researched area in the United States. This grant will help us begin to develop a body of data in New Jersey upon which we can build, reaching more parents and more schools in the state and, hopefully, beyond.

According to Willis, the program last year trained and surveyed 2,655 students and 368 parents at Williamstown, Hammonton and Somerville (Somerset County) high schools. Research outcomes thus far show that, after undergoing the program, parents were significantly more likely to believe they could impact their teen’s driving behaviors and had better understanding of the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing. Teens, in turn, demonstrated a greater understanding of motor vehicle laws and acknowledged their importance, Willis says.

During the grant announcement, State Farm and Rowan officials were joined by students, administrators and faculty at Williamstown High School, who discussed the impact the Parent/Teen Orientation Driving Program has had on them.

About State Farm®
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada