Until recently I didn’t think that there was much that could be done about dangerous teen driving, other than call the local police station and report local hot spots.
Tonight I discovered an organisation in our area called STTOP (Sherrif’s Teen Traffic Offender Program). STTOP is an innovative intervention program developed by the Lost Hills/Malibu Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, to educate young drivers and their parents.
It is reckless behavior and other bad driving practices that STTOP hopes to correct. The program is designed to intervene when a young driver displays poor judgment or dangerous driving behavior. Aside from following up on collision reports and citations issued, STTOP encourages citizens to call in (or log on) and report dangerous teen drivers.
How does it work?
STTOP will take the information provided about the driver, his vehicle and the dangerous driving behavior and attempt to identify the offender. After locating the driver, a Sheriff’s Deputy conducts an intervention with the driver and his/her parents. The programs’ intent is not to prosecute, but to correct and educate the offender and his parents. Getting parents involved is the key. Young drivers do their best to impress parents with their safe driving. The parents can’t always be there and peer pressure, or simply wanting to impress friends, often leads to deadly consequences. The goal of STTOP is to make teens better, safer drivers, which in turn benefits all drivers on the roadways.
Unlike some private organizations, there are no additional fees charged to parents of teens, to put a bumper sticker with a “toll free number” on a car (which can be easily removed). No additional taxes are levied on citizens. A postcard or letter isn’t sent with a one-size-fits-all message, which can be easily lost in the mail, or thrown away by the teen. An experienced, uniformed law enforcement officer from the community visits the home, unannounced, to talk to the parents and teen. The impact this has is unrivaled.
What cities are currently participating?
There are many cities that already participate in STTOP, with more in the planning stages to join.
STTOP was created over 4 years ago, and has grown faster than anyone imagined. The following Los Angeles and Ventura County cities currently participate in STTOP:
City of Camarillo
Cresenta Valley Communities
Let’s all help keep teens safe!