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Safe driving tips for teenagers in Massachusetts

The number one cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 is motor vehicle accidents. Teens are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents but a new report found that teen drivers in Massachusetts have the highest risk of being killed in a car accident during the summer months.

Fatal car accidents for teenagers increases during July and August, with fatal car crashes involving teens being almost 40 percent higher compared to other months. It makes sense that fatal car accidents are more likely to happen during the summer when teens are out of school and have more time to be behind the wheel, especially since teen drivers are already three times more likely to be killed in a car accident compared to older drivers.

With the risk of being killed in a car accident so much higher for teenagers, what can parents and teens do to make sure they are staying safe behind the wheel this summer?

One way to reduce the risk of being seriously injured or killed in a car accident is to always wear your seat belt. Teens are less likely to wear their seat belts and according to the NHTSA, 55 percent of teens killed in car accidents in 2011 were not buckled up.

Other safety tips that teen drivers should follow and parents should be enforcing include never driving after drinking any amount of alcohol, following the state's graduated driver licensing laws, and do not use your cellphone while driving. Texting while driving, looking at Facebook or email and even talking on the phone significantly increases the chances of being in a car accident so keep everyone safe on the road and put the phone down.

Parents can also take steps to keep their teens safe behind the wheel. Parents should always be aware of their own driving behaviors and be good roles models for their teens. This means putting down the phone, not eating and paying attention to the road at all times. Parents can also set curfews for their teens to make sure they are not on the road late at night.

Another way parents can help is by supervising driving with their teen and make sure they are following all state driving laws and safety practices to help them understand the hazards on the road and how to change their driving behavior depending on certain hazards, such as when the weather is bad.

Source: MSN Autos, "Driving tips to keep your teen alive," Charles Plueddeman, June 26, 2013

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