LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A statewide program run by sheriff’s departments notifies parents when their teen drivers are pulled over.
STOPPED — Sheriffs Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers — started in 2006. At the time, only a few county sheriff’s departments participated. Now, all 83 counties in Michigan participate.
The program’s concept is simple: Parents who register a car receive a sticker with a unique number to put in the vehicle’s front window. The next time a person between the ages of 16 and 21 driving the car is pulled over, parents are notified via mail, email or text.
“In the event that child was stopped for any reason — ticket no ticket, in town out of town — we will notify the parent the child was stopped, how many people were in the vehicle and the reason for the stop,” said Terry Jungle, Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association.
Sheriff’s departments statewide participate in STOPPED. State and city police can also notify sheriff’s departments if they make a stop of a registered car.
“In Michigan, if you get a ticket as a teen driver, you can go pay it and your parents don’t hear about it,” Jungle said.
Jungle said the stickers are a constant reminder to teen drivers that if they mess up driving, mom and dad will find out. He said that alone is enough to encourage them to make better driving decisions.
“It puts the parent back in the car,” he said.
Alerts also contain the name of the officer who made the stop in case they would like more information.
“We believe firmly that we’re saving lives with this program. It is so hard to quantify prevention. But we’re pretty sure we are preventing deaths,” Jungle said.
There are more than 30,500 cars registered with STOPPED, which is funded by State Farm insurance. But with more than 100,000 new Michigan teens getting behind the wheels of cars each year, Jungle would like to see that number increase.
Michigan is the only state in the county with a similar program in effect statewide.
It has been so successful that it has been expanded include stopped stickers for boats, jet skies and motorcycles.
Parents and teens can register online and a sticker will be mailed to them.