National Teen Driver Safety Week: Safe and responsible driving

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – How often do you talk to your family about safe driving and following the rules of the road? This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and MassDOT is stressing the importance of speaking to your teenagers about safe and responsible driving behaviors.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation nearly 2,400 teenagers between the ages of 13-19 were killed in car crashes across the country in 2019. Public safety officials are urging parents to talk through safe habits with their young drivers. This is why it’s vital to address proper driving protocols as well as the dangers other drivers on the road can pose.

“It’s really concerning cause when your child gets their drivers license you don’t want them to feel intimidated by someone that’s tailgating or someone that’s using their phone and I think that parents should tell their kids what to watch out for and what not to do,” said concerned parent, Theresa Carmody of Springfield.

Statistics show that some teens are at an especially higher risk, including teen boy drivers and newly licensed drivers. This also includes driving during periods of time when visibility isn’t optimal such as during late hours of the night, weekends and during adverse weather.

According to MassDOT Halloween is one of the holidays each year where they see higher rates of pedestrians and drunk driving. And with the holiday approaching, adults should make sure teens are aware of all safety laws and measures. Young drivers are encouraged to be familiar with the Massachusetts Driving Manual.

MassDOT: How to have open communication about safe driving

  • Talk about safe driving practices and the consequences drivers face if they don’t obey the rules of the road.
  • Become familiar with Massachusetts’ nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all the graduated driver licensing
  • Be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits.
  • Set the rules before they hit the road and make it clear to your teen that violating the rules will have serious repercussions. Set consequences for specific rule violations, such as distracted driving. 
  • Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. Remember that the use of phones and all electronic devices, including phones in hands-free mode, remains illegal for drivers under the age of 18.

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