CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America. The National Safety Council dubs this time of year the "100 Deadliest Days for Teens on the Road."
So we asked what needs to be done to change that and that's where mom and dad come in.
Megan Voelgesang, of Medina is on the countdown to getting her driver's license. She says the first thing she is going to do when she can drive alone is probably go out and get some food by herself. Most drivers can relate to that excitement, but, numbers show too often teens don't know where to draw the line with their new freedom, perhaps more so now than ever.
"I can only teach you what needs to be done right," says driving instructor Mary Kaye Speckhart with Pro Driving School, "...I cannot make you do it once I'm not around."
She admits her frustration when surveys confirm her fears like the latest from Liberty Mutual Insurance which shows 20 percent of teens admit to being a passenger in a car with a driver under the influence in the summer, 71 percent admit to speeding, then there's the phone use of all sorts.
That's something Megan can really relate to, "I have my phone on me all the time." When asked if she finds herself fighting the urge to pick up the phone behind the wheel, she says, "Yeah, because when I'm driving with my mom and I hear my phone, I'm like it's just like your instincts."
Which makes it not so surprising that a whopping 88 percent of teens admit to using even apps while driving. But here's the shocking one, 55 percent of teens report texting their parents while driving usually responding to a parent's text wanting updated on what they're doing and the teens feel pressure to respond ASAP.
Mary Kaye stresses that's just the beginning of where so many parents actually contribute to their teens' dangerous driving habits, "the parents are their influence whoever the kids have been sitting in the care with for the past 15 and a half years, that's who they are going to copy. They're going to see what the parents are doing and they're going to do just like the parents."
Until more parents understand that she says she can only pray none of the teens who end up statistics themselves are any of her students.
She also wants to make it clear a parent can have a teens' driver's license suspended at any time if they feel that's necessary and she recommends parents and teens agree to a safe driving contract.
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