National Teen Driver Safety Week

Law enforcement, safety groups remind teens to stay safe behind the wheel

"Parents and guardians who set firm driving rules can impact their teen's driving behavior and can be the difference between life and death".

More than half of teen drivers wish they learned more about driving safely on ice, snow, or wet roads. "It is important that we equip them with the right knowledge and provide them with the rules that will ensure they stay safe on the road", said New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky.

AAA says parents should talk to their teen drivers about not drinking and driving, the importance of buckling up, keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, following the speed limit and avoid driving while exhausted.

"The extraordinarily high teen crash rates are unacceptable and it is our core mission to save lives", says Charlie Klauer, a research scientist and the leader of the Teen Risk and Injury Prevention Group at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. In 2015, 1,972 teen passenger-vehicle drivers (15 to 18 years old) were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths nationwide, of which 1,730 were teens, according to NHTSA. A key part of the instruction focuses on training newly licensed drivers to make better driving decisions. In 2015, 531 passengers died in a auto, truck, or SUV driven by a teen driver, and 58 percent of those passengers were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash.

National Teen Driver Safety Week got underway Sunday and continues through Saturday.

Be a good role model.

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Auto crashes remain the number one killer of teens, but over the past decade tremendous advancements in safety and education have resulted in a drop in deaths involving teen drivers.

Stick to the speed limit. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when driving with multiple passengers. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens.

Avoid Driving Tired. Teens are busier than ever - studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and spending time with friends are among the long list of things they do to fill their time. Drowsiness can impair your ability to drive just like alcohol.

With increased patrols, State Police also remind drivers of Virginia's "Move Over" law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road.

Knowing the difference between helpful connected auto technology and technology that is a distraction will be essential to the safety of our newest drivers and it's up to parents and guardians to help educate them on this important topic.

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