Gov. Jack Markell helps kick off the Parent's Supervised Driving Program, which encourages greater parental involvement as teens prepare to earn their drivers' licenses.

Getting behind the wheel is one of the most important – and potentially most deadly – step teens take on their way to becoming adults.

To help new drivers achieve the goal of becoming safer drivers, the state of Delaware has teamed with the Ford Motor Company’ Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, to augment the 50-hour supervised driving time required during the first six months a teen holds a state graduated driver’s license.

Statistics provided during the program’s Wednesday morning introduction at the Division of Motor Vehicles show that while 16- and 17-year-olds make up less than two percent of the drivers on Delaware roadways, they account for 5.3 percent of reportable crashes.

Thirty-two Delaware teens were killed on state roadways between 2010 and 2013.

Key to the program is a 60-page booklet that gives tips and instructions for each phase of the learning experience. The center of the brochure contains a log that a parent or guardian is required to complete when instructing a teen driver.

Teen drivers learn by experience and example, and a lot of that example is provided by the parent or guardian who accompanies them during their training time, said Gov. Jack Markell.

Therefore, Markell said, it’s important that parents and guardians provide a good role model while showing their children how they drive and in providing driving instruction during the supervised driving time.

That includes taking the novice driver out in areas unfamiliar to them, driving at night and practicing under differing weather conditions.

“Let your teen drive as often as possible before they become licensed and take every opportunity to ensure they get the experience they need out on the road,” Markell said.

The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program is provided at no cost to the student driver or parent, and the guidance booklet is handed out when applying for the graduated driver’s license.

Parents also soon will be able to track their children’s driving by using the “Road Ready” app, now under development. The app will track the time, road conditions, weather and other factors, said Jeff Larson, president of Safe Roads Alliance, which developed the program in conjunction with Ford.

“We’re hoping … that parents will be able to download this app and use it during the process,” Larson said. The app will be available on the iPhone in September and should be on Android-based systems by December, he said.