Deadliest days begin for teen drivers, AAA Nevada says | NevadaAppeal.com
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Deadliest days begin for teen drivers, AAA Nevada says

Staff report

LAS VEGAS – AAA Nevada is warning teen drivers to be extremely careful as the deadliest four months of the year begin in May with proms, graduation and summer vacations.

“Young, inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be in fatal crashes at this time of year,” said Michael Geeser, AAA Nevada spokesman. “Fortunately, parents and teachers who take an active role in the lives of teenagers can help reduce the risk.”

Statewide, the number of fatalities involving a teen driver increased 60 percent from 1999 to 2003. More than half of the 187 people killed in those accidents were passengers. Some reasons the number of fatal crashes among teens goes up during the summer months are because of underage drinking that often accompanies proms and graduation, fatigue caused by driving longer distances during vacations, and overconfidence and speeding due to dry, clear roadways.

A 16-year-old is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver age 21 or older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A recent study found the accident rate for 17-year-olds is the highest of any age group in Nevada, 10 percent higher than 16-year-olds and nearly three times the rate for 15-year-olds.

To help parents and schools protect teen drivers, AAA is launching a safety campaign to coincide with the proms, graduations and summer vacations during this dangerous time. AAA has distributed safety materials to all 98 high schools in Nevada. These include:

• Flyers informing teens about the cost of a first DUI conviction, to be stapled to prom tickets.

• Information on changes in Nevada’s graduated driver’s License law.

• An interactive computer DVD called “Driver-ZED” (Zero Errors Driving) that allows teens to recognize dangerous driving situations in a safe virtual environment.

The DVDs are available at schools and at http://www.aaa.com.

AAA recently held an anti-drunken driving slogan contest. The winning slogan is “There’s a reason another word for drunk is smashed.”

T-shirts and pens featuring the slogan are available to high schools by request in limited quantities.

For information, call Geeser at (702) 258-4649.