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Have you talked to your teenager about distracted driving dangers?

The statistics about teen drivers are so scary it is a wonder that parents even let their teenagers get behind the wheel. Teens are more likely to die in a fatal car accident during their first year of licensure than at any time afterward. According to the California Highway Patrol, some 800,000 teenage drivers statewide are involved in a collision each year.

Obviously, the only way to become a better driver is through experience and training, so teenagers need to spend time behind the wheel. But the CHP and other road safety advocates believe that more needs to be done to combat one of the biggest hazards associated with teenagers: distracted driving.

Throughout California, the CHP partners with local groups to offer distracted driving awareness and prevention courses. One such program, called "Impact Teen Drivers," reportedly "reaches thousands of teens and parents each year to show how using a cellular telephone, texting, and other distractions while driving can have fatal consequences," according to a recent news article. Sharing sobering statistics like those mentioned above is an important component of programs like ITD.

If you are the parent of a teen driver, your son or daughter's safety is likely your most pressing concern. But it is also important to remember that if your teen driver causes a serious accident in which someone else is injured or killed, the consequences could be far worse than you may realize. To begin with, the guilt and grief of such an accident could leave irreversible emotional scars. Beyond that, your teenager (and your family by extension) could be named in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Please don't hesitate to discuss the dangers of distracted with your teen as often as necessary. Some say experience is the best teacher, but a distracted driving accident is one experience your family simply cannot afford.

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