6 On Your Side Answers: Summer teen driving safety tips

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With summer break now in session, traffic safety experts say the next two months for teenage drivers bring with them increased risk of car crashes. In fact, Memorial Day marks the start for the 100 deadliest days on the road for teens.

Cynthia from Knoxville asks: “Tennessee law has limits on teenage drivers. And I’ve set my own too. Would you agree?”

National safety records show that teenagers have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers based on the amount of miles driven.

Tragically, an average of 260 teens die during the summer months in traffic accidents across the country. That’s a 26 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

Studies show a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving.

In Tennessee, within a year after receiving a driver’s license, teenagers can drive solo under certain conditions.

AAA safety experts say parents should limit teen driving to essential trips and only with with parental permission. Of course, we know that is easier said than done.

The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through continued parent supervised practice sessions where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving.

Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together to help manage increasingly more complex driving conditions. Letting them drive while on a summer vacation trip with the family would be an example.

The chances of being involved in a fatal crash for teen drivers doubles when behind the wheel at night. The late night hours are the highest risk for adult drivers as well.

In Tennessee until the 18th birthday, there is a curfew for teenage drivers between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless it is for a job, school, religious activities or a medical necessity.

AAA says many parents and teens find that written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about teen driving habits. That agreement is a good idea.

You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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