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Teen drivers encouraged to avoid distractions this summer

It's June, and as temperatures rise and kids wrap up the school year, many teens will embark on a summer of fun. Driving is often a necessity for many Connecticut teens who rely upon cars to get to and from summer jobs, visit friends or go shopping. While many parents of teenagers often welcome the day their son or daughter can drive and be more independent, such independence is not without risks.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Automobile Association, the summer months are the most deadly for teen drivers. In fact, out of the 10 most deadly driving days for teen drivers, a total of seven occur during the summer months. Cellphones and mobile device usage continues to be a major factor in many car accidents involving teen drivers.

If asked, most teen drivers wouldn't take a bet to driver the distance of a football field blindfolded. That's exactly what a driver is doing, however, when he or she chooses to send or read a text message. Texting and driving is distracting and dangerous and greatly increases the likelihood that a driver will be involved in a car accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who text are roughly 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

To discourage teen drivers from engaging in distracted driving behaviors, the AAOS and AAA have partnered in a nationwide safety campaign called "Decide to Drive". The campaign not only warns teens of the dangers associated with using mobile devices while driving, but also other potentially distracting and dangerous behaviors such as adjusting the radio and looking at a map.

Source: WBOY, "Summer deadliest time of year for teen drivers," June 4, 2013

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