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Beware of teenage drivers

There are many causes of motor vehicle accidents, and when a teenager is behind the wheel the chances of a crash increase. Teenagers may be enthusiastic about their ability to operate a vehicle, but their lack of experience puts them in a high-risk driving category.

All drivers should practice defensive driving, and this helps reduce the number of accidents. However, graduated driver license programs and parental involvement are the best ways to combat accidents by teen drivers.

Main causes of teenage accidents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the fact that teenagers have not had enough time behind the wheel is the main reason for accidents. In fact, the first month after a teen receives the license is the riskiest.

Other causes of crashes include driving during the weekends and at night, speeding, operating the vehicle with other teens in the car and driving distracted. A big factor in fatal accidents is the lack of seat belt use.

State laws and parents can reduce risk

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every state has its own graduated driver licensing program, which places restrictions on teenage driving. Parents can do their part by enforcing these restrictions, which may include nighttime driving limitations, teenage passenger restrictions and seat belt use.

Parents can help improve driving experience by accompanying the teenager on drives in various conditions. When driving themselves, parents need to set a good example by following speed limits, avoiding phone use and using turn signals.

Because distracted driving and impaired driving are risk factors, parents should talk with their teens about their dangers. It may help to outline a driving contract, in which teens face consequences if they do not follow the rules.