Minnesota Coalition

We are a Coalition of more than 33 organizations committed to helping teens leverage the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). We are affiliated with state and local government, law enforcement and public health agencies, traffic safety and injury prevention organizations, academia, and businesses. We’re also teens, parents and crash victims.

While teen crashes and fatalities nationwide fell to record lows in 2010, our goal is zero -- no crashes, injuries or fatalities. Ensuring that teens survive the most dangerous time of their life is not just the responsibility of parents, police and school officials, but every citizen. 

Led by Carol Bufton, President and CEO of the Minnesota Safety Council, our Coalition is working collaboratively to effect change in Minnesota. We invite you to learn about our initiatives and to join us. There are no monthly meetings or membership dues; your only obligation is to help spread the word about Minnesota's GDL program.


  • Brett Broekema, dnt blnk
  • Carol Bufton, MN Safety Council/Coalition Leader
  • Kathryn Clark, Brain Injury Association of MN
  • Kathy Cooper, Rice County TZD Safe Roads Coalition
  • Kelly Cusick, DriveSafeRideSafe
  • Vijay Dixit, NOYS
  • Martha Erickson, Good Enough Moms/University of MN
  • Lee Glamm & Gail Weinholzer, AAA Minnesota/Iowa
  • Patricia Hackman, Wright County TZD Safe Roads Coalition
  • Patricia Halsey, Anoka School District
  • Matt Hehl, AAA Minneapolis
  • Dr. Thomas Hellmich, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital
  • Steven Heng, MN County Attorneys Association
  • Don Hoechst, MN Dept of Public Safety Driver & Vehicle Services
  • Bob Kaitz, BestPrep
  • Loni Kjos, Klick It for Kelsey
  • Mark Kinde, MN Dept of Health
  • Ellie Klooster, Steve Stoerzinger & Shaundra Turner, Allstate Insurance Co.
  • Lisa Kons, MN NETS
  • Ann Kulenkamp, MN Safety Council
  • Kaylen Larson, NOYS/FCCLA
  • Erick Garcia Luna, Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Sonia O’Brien, State Farm Insurance
  • Susie Palmer & Gordy Pehrson, MN Dept of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety
  • Erin Petersen, Safe Kids MN
  • Julie Philbrook, Hennepin County Medical Center
  • Jody Redmond, MN State High School League
  • Lt. Eric Roeske, MN State Patrol
  • Brenda Thomas, MADD Minnesota


Keys to Safer Teen Driving

Keys to Safer Teen Driving is a program of the Minnesota Teen Safe Driving Coalition and was developed to support our goal of reducing teen traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.

The project contains segments designed for three audiences:

  • B4 U Drive: Teens Reaching Tweens, a leader’s guide designed to support teens in raising awareness and presenting traffic safety information to tweens

  • Teen Safe Driving, a teen-to-teen awareness and education program

  • Teen Drivers: The Parent’s Role, an outline and discussion guide suitable for a parent education session within a driver’s education program or other community setting 

 For more information, please contact the Minnesota Teen Safe Driving Coalition through the Minnesota Safety Council, (651) 291-9150 or (800) 444-9150; [email protected].


Ticket Your Parents

The Ticket Your Parent(s) program was designed by the Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition in partnership with the National Safety Council. Ticket Your Parent(s) is for teachers or organization leaders who closely work with pre-teens. Program facilitators give pre-teens a book of mock traffic tickets to issue to parents or other adult drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. After the program ends, pre-teens discuss what they learned while observing their parents' driving behaviors. 


Register to host Ticket Your Parent(s)! All materials are free and available for download as soon as you register. 

The HEARTS Network

Nearly everyone knows someone whose life has been impacted by a teen driving-related crash. The National Safety Council manages the HEARTS Network, a nationwide group of families and victims who have been directly impacted by a teen-related crash. The HEARTS Network - an acronym for Honoring Everyone Affected, Rallying The Survivors - helps families and victims support one another and advocate for change. We encourage anyone who has been impacted to join the HEARTS Network and the Teen Safe Driving Coalitions. 

Personal stories play an important role in affecting change. For that purpose, we have created a “Sharing HEARTS” section of the HEARTS Network webpage dedicated to telling the stories of those whose lives have changed forever because of teen-related crashes.

Visit the HEARTS Network webpage to learn more. 


GDL Game Plan for Coaches

The GDL Game Plan for Coaches is a vehicle for high school and recreational or travel league coaches to hold an open dialog with athletes about enforcing and adhering to GDL laws in their state. The 4-page document includes an overview of how and why the New York GDL program works; offers suggestions for engaging athletes, parents and fans; outlines a sample code of conduct; and lists online resources. Information for coaches, athletes and parents about the Coaches Game Plan – including sample text for a GDL Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The PDFs are available below.


What is the Graduated Driver License Program?

First implemented in Michigan and Florida in the mid-1990s, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a three-step system designed to provide novice drivers with the necessary tools to be safe on our roadways and minimize those things that cause them the greatest risk of crash – distraction caused by other passengers, the use of cell phones and electronic devices as well as driving late at night and riding unbelted. There is a minimum age for teens to be eligible for a driver’s permit, a mandatory holding period or probationary license and a basic or full license.

What does Minnesota’s GDL program entail?

Young Minnesota drivers must:

  1. Be 15 years old to obtain a learner's permit
  2. Complete 30 hours of driving – 10 of which must be at night – over the next 6 months before obtaining an intermediate, or restricted, license at age 16 
  3. Not drive unsupervised between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first 6 months of intermediate licensure. The nighttime driving restriction can be lifted when a teen is 16 years and 6 months old
  4. Not carry more than one passenger younger than 20 for the first 6 months of the intermediate license stage. After 6 months, a teen may carry up to three passengers younger than 20
  5. Be 17 to obtain an unrestricted basic, or full, license 

Why does Minnesota need a GDL program?

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens, and their crash risk is four times that of an experienced driver. The risk is highest when teens are in the first 12 to 24 months of licensure.

The “License to Save” report issued by The Allstate Foundation in December 2011 estimates that 2,641 people in Minnesota have been killed in teen-related motor vehicle crashes since 1991. It also estimates that 172 lives in Minnesota have been saved since 1991 and the implementation of GDL laws. GDL laws have saved approximately 14,820 lives nationwide since 1991. It is proven to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers.

Why are passengers dangerous for teen drivers?

Most teen crashes involve some form of distraction, and passengers are particularly distracting to young drivers. A teen driver is twice as likely to be killed in a crash while carrying just one passenger, regardless of whether the passenger is a friend of a sibling. Carrying two passengers increases crash risk by 158 percent, and three passengers increases risk by 207 percent.

Why is nighttime driving risky for teens?

Forty percent of all teen driver fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. While Minnesota does not allow teens on the roadways after midnight or before 5 a.m., parents are encouraged to set earlier times for their teens to be off the roads.

May teen drivers use hands-free cell phones?

Minnesota has a total ban of cell phone use while driving for the first 12 months of the learner’s permit and intermediate licensing periods. Minnesota does not, however, have a cell phone ban of any kind for other motorists. Research clearly shows that both handheld and hands-free devices cause manual, cognitive and visual distraction and the National Safety Council and the National Transportation Safety Board have called for a nationwide ban of all cell phone use while driving for all motorists regardless of age.

How can I help a teen driver gain more experience?

Research clearly shows that GDL programs are the most effective tool for addressing teen crash risk because they help novice drivers build skill while minimizing risk. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, older sibling, neighbor or friend, learning about and enforcing the GDL program is important. 

Parents in particular play a critical role in teen driver safety. Teens who report having parents that set rules and monitor their activities in a helpful and supportive way are half as likely to crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving and 50 percent more likely to wear a safety belt. By partnering with parents, you can help to ensure that they know about and leverage the proven principles of GDL so their teens gain skill and become good drivers for life.


Minnesota Websites

Minnesota Department of Public Safety -- Office of Traffic Safety - for parents and teens

Keys to Safer Teen Driving - for parents and teens

Minnesota Safety Council - for parents and teens

Allstate Parent/Teen Agreement - for Minnesota parents and teens


National Websites

National Safety Council


The Allstate Foundation

Impact Teen Drivers

DCH Teen Safe Driver program - for parents and teens

Center for Disease Control - Teen Drivers

IIHS - Highway Loss Data Institute

AAA Keys2Drive for parents and teens

Safe Kids - for parents and teens 13/14-years of age

SADD - for parents, teens and educators

National Organizations for Youth Safety for parents, teens and educators

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - for parents, teens and educators


Contact Us

To join in the conversation or to follow the Coalition’s initiatives and activities, visit us on Facebook

To learn more about Coalition membership, our initiatives and/or to provide financial or in-kind support, contact Carol Bufton, Minnesota Teen Safe Driving Coalition leader, at [email protected].