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Teamwork is the focus of this year's Teen Driver Safety Week

There is no question that one of the most exciting times in the life of a teenager is securing their learner's permit and eventually their driver's license. That's because they finally have the sense of independence that comes from being able to drive themselves to and from school, work and social outings.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that this can also prove to be an especially dangerous time for teens, as they lack both skill and experience behind the wheel. Indeed, research has shown that teen drivers are killed in car accidents at four times the rate of adult drivers, and that over 5,000 teen drivers are killed in car crashes every year.

In recognition of this problem, lawmakers, medical experts and safety advocates joined forces back in 2007 to start National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through tomorrow. The theme of this year's campaign focuses on the important role that parents can play in helping ensure that their teen drivers stay safe behind the wheel.

Organizers indicate that one area in particular where parents can help their teen drivers is in the learning and development of so-called critical driving skills.

According to shocking statistics from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 75 percent of all serious car accidents involving teen drivers can be traced some sort of critical driving error. Furthermore, it concluded that three critical driving errors accounted for more than half of these serious crashes, including driving distracted, failing to detect a hazard and driving too fast for conditions.

In light of these statistics, the organizers are encouraging teens to ask their parents for positive instruction on how to avoid these three critical driving errors. For example, this may include demonstrating how and when to adjust your speed as you make your way through heavier traffic, residential areas and/or inclement weather. Similarly, it could also mean a lesson on how to scan for, identify and react to hazards, as well as how to recognize and avoid potential distractions (phones, car radios, passengers, etc.).

Has your teen approached you for safe driving tips this week or any other time of the year? If so, what did you teach them?

If you've been seriously injured in a car accident here in West Virginia, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights and fight for the justice you deserve.

Source: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "Get behind National Teen Driver Safety Week," Oct. 2013

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