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Keeping your teen driver safe on the road

Data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that car accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 16 and 19, causing 25 percent of that age group's fatalities. Furthermore, the summer months are by far the most dangerous for teen drivers; there is a 40 percent greater risk that teen drivers will be involved in an accident in the summer than in the winter. 

Car accident fatality rates have been steadily falling since the mid 1990s with the advent of safer vehicles, the implementation of graduated licensing requirements in states across the country and public awareness of the necessity of seatbelts. A shining example of public education is the national "Click it or ticket" campaign that has successfully been used for years by print, radio and television sources to reach the widest possible audience.  

Though accident rates are falling, it is still important for both teen drivers and their parents to implement good driving behaviors and set clear boundaries about what will and will not be allowed. For example, parents should always wear their seat belts and demand that their teen wear one while he or she is driving as well. It should be stressed to teens that any cellphone use - either handheld or on a hands-free device - is allowed while the vehicle is in motion, particularly not texting or sending emails.

Another important safety tip for parents and teens alike is to avoid alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Since alcohol is illegal for teens to possess or ingest, any amount of alcohol detected in a teen driver will result in serious consequences which will include fines, license suspension and possible community service or jail time. Following state graduated licensing - stressing a longer period of supervised driving, no night driving and no teen passengers - is also helpful as it has been shown to reduce the number of teen driver accidents caused by inexperience.

Source: MSN Autos, "Driving tips to keep your teen alive," Charles Plueddeman, first posted June 26, 2013. 

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