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Driving talk tips for parents with teen and young-adult drivers

Are you worried about your child driving and getting into an accident? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started a new campaign to help you talk to your teens about the risks of driving. The week of Oct. 18 through Oct. 24 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, so it's a good time to speak with your children about the ways they can stay safe when they're on the roads.

Motor-vehicle accidents are a major cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 20 in the U.S. These younger drivers may be new to driving or be more prone to making mistakes that lead to accidents. Despite this, a survey reported that around 25 percent of parents had taken the time to speak with their children about driving safely -- a number that could be vastly improved.

What would the NHTSA like parents to discuss with their children? First, remind them of the dangers of drunk driving. Discuss how underage drinking can impact judgment and driving ability, too. Despite the legal age for alcohol consumption being 21, it can affect teens of any age if they've been drinking.

Remind your kids not to text or talk on the phone while driving. Distracted drivers can kill or be killed. Speeding adds to the risk, and having extra passengers can lead to the distractions facing your children on the road. Finally, encourage and enforce your children wearing seat belts. With over half the passengers in crashes between the ages of 15 and 20, they were not wearing seat belts when they crashed. This simple error leads to serious injuries and deaths that could have been avoided.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "NHTSA encourages parents of teens to join the '5 to Drive' campaign," Oct. 19, 2015

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