Parents urged to talk to teens during National Teen Driver Safety Week

Published: Oct. 19, 2014 at 10:39 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Sunday is the first day of National Teen Driver Safety Week and the Georgia Department of Driver Services wants parents to keep talking to their children about safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 14 to 18. According to their research, one out of every two accidents involving a teenage driver ends with a fatality or serious injury.

The message that state officials want to send is this: talking with your teenager about safe driving can make a difference. Even if you think your son or daughter has heard it all, the state commissioner said it's important to keep the conversation going.

"Crashes end more teen lives than homicides, suicides, and cancer combined. Some of the reasons for that is teens don't have the experience behind the wheel because they just started driving. Statistics show that one in six teenagers are going to crash during that first year of driving," Doug Shupe of AAA said.

In spite of those striking numbers, a government study shows that only one out of four parents surveyed said they've ever had a serious discussion with their teenager about the most dangerous types of driving behaviors.

Parents are encouraged to cover five main points:

  • No drinking and driving
  • Always wearing a seatbelt, regardless of whether you are in the front or back seat
  • Refrain from cell phone use
  • Stay disciplined about observing the speed limit
  • Make sure you don't have too many passengers in the car

When officials say too many passengers, they don't just mean more than the car is supposed to hold. The experts suggest that new drivers try to avoid having more than one other person in the car at any given time.

Their findings show that a large group of young people in the vehicle can be just as distracting as text messaging.

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