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Awareness event focuses on teen driver safety

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time for many teenagers, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Virginia parents and teens alike should understand the risks that teen drivers face, as well as those who share the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated October 20 through 26 as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Motor vehicle accidents kill more teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 in the country than any other factor. In 2017, 2,247 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving a teenage driver. Of these fatalities, 755 were the teen driver.

Despite much of the focus regarding teenage car accidents being on distracted and drunk driving, the National Safety Council states that inexperience is the main cause of crashes involving teen drivers. It takes time and experience to develop the skills necessary to judge gaps in traffic, to turn safely and to learn the proper speed for weather and road conditions. Parents may talk to their teens about the “5 to Drive” rules, which include the following:

  • No speeding
  • No driving with cellphones
  • No alcohol
  • No extra passengers in the car
  • No riding or driving without wearing a seatbelt

It is estimated that half of all U.S. teenagers will be involved in a car accident before they graduate from high school. Parents may improve their children’s chances of becoming safe drivers and avoiding serious crashes by having frequent discussions on driving rules and expectations and by being good driving role models themselves.

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