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Student drivers get behind the wheel this summer during 100 deadliest days on the road

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 17:46:44-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Many students are now out of school for summer break and will spend more time in cars and driving in the city. This could be cause for concern for parents as we are now in the 100 deadliest days on the road.

Over 260 teens are killed in crashes each month in the summer. To put that into perspective, that's about a 26 percent increase compared to all of the other months of the year.

While practicing in the parking lot, teen driver Brennan Westfall recalls her first time driving.

"It was a little scary at first," Brennan said. "I was kind of nervous."

And there was a good reason, Westfall's mother, Amanda Westfall, said.

"I couldn't believe the number of drivers that, you know, honked at her, it was at least three of them," Amanda said.

So, Brennan's mother bought stickers that said: "Please Be Patient - Student Driver."

The sticker reminds drivers to be patient, so the students can concentrate, says drivers ed instructor, Mike Ward.

Sixty percent of teen crashes today are caused by distracted driving, such as, texting, or talking on the phone.

"You're thinking about your conversation, and you stop checking and scanning," Ward said.

National data collected also shows speeding is a factor in about one-third of all deadly crashes involving a teen driver. Also, Ward says teens need to slow down.

"You come to an intersection and slow down. If you're going too slow, you can always speed up," Ward explained. "If you're going too fast, something bad is going to happen."

AAA says that when teen drivers have only teens in the car, the fatality rate for all people goes up 51 percent. In contrast, when passengers 35 or older ride with a teen, the price drops by eight percent.

Ward says teach good habits to your teen drivers.

"People need to set a good example when they're driving because they're going to be watching you drive, and a lot of times they're going to be a driver just like you are," Ward says of teens following the example their parents set.

Brennan asks for drivers to be patient with her and all new drivers.

"Like the student driver magnet helps. If you see it, just know that, like, they're new at this, they're learning, they're trying their best," Brennan said.

They are trying their best to stay safe while learning the rules of the road.

AAA says to stay engaged and let your teen continue practicing driving with you, especially in situations like rush hour, city traffic, night driving, and poor weather.