National Teen Driver Safety Week

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PHOENIX – It’s the third week in October, which means it’s National Teen Driver Safety Week.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in American. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers.”

National Teen Driver Safety Week was established in 2007 to raise awareness about the issue, shed light on the the startling numbers and find ways to end these unnecessary deaths.

Linda Gorman of AAA Arizona told 3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla that a new study shows that there are three main reasons teens get into wreck: inattention, which could mean texting, playing with the radio or focusing on passengers; failure to reduce speed and failure to yield.

AAA advises parents to work out a driving contract with their teens. That contract should include defined punishments for breaking the rules.

Another thing parents can do is not allow their teens to have passengers in their cars until they’re more experienced behind the wheel. For teenagers, having friends in the car tends to be distracting, regardless of the passengers’ intentions.

Finally, AAA says it’s a good idea to limit night driving. Statistics shows the rate of fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers is nearly twice as high as during the day. More than half of teen nighttime crashes happened between 9 p.m. and midnight.

The theme of this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week is supporting parents as they teach their kids to drive. Teen Driver Source suggests parents put in 50 hours of supervised driving practice with their teens to help them learn how to handle a variety of real-life behind-the-wheel situations.

Teen Driver Source says part of making teens good drivers involves parents being good passengers and paying close attention to what their kids are doing as they learn to drive. The learning process is the perfect time to instill good habits.

Encouraging teen drivers to develop good driving habits means teaching by example. To that end, parents should demonstrate safe-driving habits, including putting away the cell phones, focusing on the road and obeying all traffic laws.