Tips to curb teen accidents this July 4

Summer holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day are particularly deadly for motorists in Alabama and all across the country. On average, 12 more people die in car accidents on July 4 than on a typical day of the year. And teenagers are particularly vulnerable.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 800 U.S. motorists died on Independence Day between 2006 and 2010, the most recent crash data available. The agency predicts that as many as 140 people could lose their lives on July 4 this year. Typically, teens account for nearly one tenth of fatalities every year.

So why are teens, in particular, more likely to get into crashes than other motorists? For one thing, they are simply less experienced when they are out on the roads. They are also more prone to drive distractedly, such as when they send or read text messages from behind the wheel. Alcohol and speeding are also possible factors.

There are a few things parents can do to encourage teens to drive safely over the holiday. Here are a few ideas.

• Be a good role model. Parents who drive safely and courteously, don't speed and always wear their seatbelts are more likely to have children who do the same thing.

• Talk to teens about driving before it's time for them to do it. It's never too early to talk to a teenager about the risks and responsibilities driving involves. Generally, planting it in their mind early, and during and after the licensing process, can only be a good thing.

• This sounds obvious, but encourage them to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. Wearing a seatbelt, of course, is one of the most important rules.

Source: Fox Business, "Teen driver safety tips for deadly July 4," Mark Chalon Smith, July 2, 2012

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