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It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week

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Andre Vieira, Getty Images

Sunday marked the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety Week, and the Wyoming Medical Center Safe Communities Program is urging parents to use the opportunity to talk to young drivers about safety behind the wheel.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. About two-thousand-seven-hundred teens from 16-19 were killed and two-hundred-and-eighty-two-thousand were injured in motor-vehicle crashes in 2010.

“Friends and families should be part of the solution,” says Pam Evert, Sage Communities Program Director at Wyoming Medical Center.  “It’s important for parents to set a good example to create and enforce driving rules with consequences at home.”

The WMC Safe Communities Program gives this tips to teach save driving habits to teens:

Use positivity, not scare tactics- Instead of telling young drivers what not to do, try focusing on what good driving behavior is: wearing seat belts, driving focused and driving substance free and well rested.  “Stay positive with the children,” says Evert.  “Don’t raise your voice.  Be as patient as you can.  Remember, you were a first-time driver, also.”

Use real-world situations- Letting your teen drive more often while you’re in the car gives you an opportunity to encourage good driving behaviors.  Set a good example by wearing a seat belt at all times, driving at a safe speed and eliminating distractions.  “Practice in low traffic areas.  And your own behavior as a driver, they will learn from as well.”

Remember that unsafe driving doesn’t stop at graduation- Teens starting college often experience more freedom, less supervision and easier access to drugs and alcohol.  A strong foundation can go a long way, but it is important to continue to educate young drivers by reminding them of responsible driving practices and ensuring that they understand the responsibility that comes with more freedom.  “Instill in them good driving techniques.  Hopefully they buckle up every time and hopefully they don’t text and drive.  They’re still new drivers, even at 18 and 19.”

Use Resources, including other kids- Encourage your teen to get involved in possible school and peer-to-peer programs in your community.  Find more tips at the National Highway safety Administration.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Website

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