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Parents play an important role in teen driving safety

For Maryland teens entering their junior and senior years in high school, this marks the year when they'll learn to drive. As exciting as that is for them, the thought brings no small amount of angst to many parents. In the past two years, at least 13 Washington, D.C. metro area high school students have been killed in car crashes, including five in Maryland.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over half of the seniors surveyed in the Washington metro area reported that they had either been involved in a car crash or nearly missed getting into one. Young drivers who are 16 and 17 years old are nearly four times more likely to get into a crash than those who are at least 18, and 2.6 times more likely to have a fatal crash.

Many parents feel like they have little if any influence over their teens when they get to be driving age. However, as an official with AAA Mid-Atlantic asserts "Parents are the front line of defense for keeping our kids safe on the roads…."

In part, they can do this by "modeling good behavior" as a driver, such as staying off their electronic devices while behind the wheel and insisting that everyone fasten their seat belts. AAA also encourages parents to talk to their kids early about distracted driving and other dangerous behaviors, such as speeding, and to reiterate those cautions often. They also encourage parents to draw up an agreement that designates rules for their teen drivers. AAA is among the organizations that has an agreement for parents to print out.

Of course, any discussion of driving safety with your teen should include warnings about driving under the influence. Just because teens aren't old enough to drink legally, that doesn't mean that they don't have access to it at parties, friends' houses and even at home.

Besides the chances that they're taking with their safety and that of others on the road, teens also risk criminal charges that can impact their future at school and in the workplace. If you teen gets a DUI and/or related charges, it's essential to seek guidance from an experienced Maryland DUI attorney.

Source: Alexandria News, "Thirteen Area High School Students/Recent Grads Killed In Fatal Teen-Driver Related Crashes 2015-2017," Sep. 06, 2017

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