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The one easy thing parents can do to protect their teenage children learning to drive

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Twenty-four drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 have died on Virginia roads this year.  There were only 20 during the same time last year. AAA Mid-Atlantic hopes parents become more active in monitoring the driving habits of teenage drivers in the family.  In addition, they hope parents remind their children of these sobering statistics:

  • 62 percent of teen drivers who lost their lives were not wearing seat belts
  • The top two contributing factors to fatal teen crashes are speed and running off the road
  • 15 percent of crashes caused by teen driver interacting with passengers
  • 12 percent of crashes caused by teen driver using cell phone

"The single most important step a parent can take to protect the life of their teen driver is to be actively involved," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Martha Mitchell Meade said. "Parents should educate their teens about the dangers of cell phone use while driving and restrict passengers during the learning-to-drive process, as well as set a good example by limiting potential distractions while driving themselves."

Meade said parents should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction while driving and teen passenger limits, as well as other risky behaviors such as speeding.

Any violations should result in consequences such as a suspension of driving privileges.

You can find more tips on how to help your teens stay safe on the road at teendriving.AAA.com.