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Although there are other factors that deserve some of the credit for the impressive change, key among them that more teens are waiting a few years before getting their licenses, that shouldn't diminish the role IL played in being at the forefront of adapting a sensible approach to teen driving.

"Cell phone use continues to be a serious and often deadly distraction for all drivers, but it's a significant problem among young, inexperienced drivers", said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety.

"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. "Studies show we can achieve that through a collaborative approach that includes teen-led programs, effective and affordable driver education, strong GDL laws, parental involvement, and advances in safety technology".

Avoid distractions. Distraction was a key factor in 58 percent of crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19, according to an analysis of video footage of 1,691 moderate-to-severe crashes 6 seconds before they occurred. According to AAA, teen drivers were involved in almost 14,000 fatal crashes in the past five years. The CHP has released a mobile application (app) for Start Smart, created to assist young people through the process of obtaining their California driver license. The challenge coincides with the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety week, and all schools entered in the challenge must complete their campaigns by November 15.

Vehicle 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.

Michelin's "Coaching Your Teen Driver" handbook (available at www.michelinman.com/SharingSafety) is created to provide practical advice with the goal of making young drivers more game ready. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teen drivers. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when driving with multiple passengers. Remind your teen to always drive within the speed limit. Make sure your teen gets a good night's sleep; their grades, their friends, their passengers, and other drivers will thank them because they'll be a safer driver. More space is needed to stop on slick roads.

This week and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel.


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