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Have you talked with your teen about safe driving?

The fall is often an incredibly busy time of the year for many teenagers. That's because in addition to their usual routine of classes, homework, extracurriculars and work, many are also juggling social engagements and, of course, homecoming festivities.

Thanks to the release of a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, however, parents might want to make a concerted effort to have a discussion with their teen before they head out the door -- keys in hand -- to their next activity.

What did this GHSA study find that was so alarming?

The GHSA report found that while the number of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers has fallen steadily since 2005, it actually jumped by 10 percent in 2015. Furthermore, the report found that teens are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision that adults, and that older teens were far more likely than their younger counterparts to lose their lives in a car crash.

What's behind this dramatic uptick?

While the GHSA study doesn't readily identify causes, another recent study by AAA, which found that teens were involved in 14,000 fatal accidents over the last five years, attributes it to such causes as distracted driving (phones, friends, etc.) and speeding.

What do the researchers suggest should be done?

AAA researchers urge parents to ensure that their teens log at least 50 hours of driving practice, only have one passenger in the car at a time during the first six months of licensing, and ban all wireless devices. They also suggest that parents set a good example when behind the wheel.

As for the GHSA researchers, they suggest the 50 states consider extending the age at which drivers no longer have to participate in graduated licensing programs, meaning the three-stage licensing process, from 18 to 21 in order to ensure that all young drivers benefit. In support of this argument, they point to the high fatality numbers among older teens and the fact that statistics show that one in three teens are still unlicensed at 18.

Here's hoping we see a safe homecoming season and safe school year …

If you've been seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by the negligence of another, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for seeking justice.   

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