Teen Driver Study

By: Gary Loe
By: Gary Loe

Do you know when you should be most worried about your teenage driver? Many moms and dads want their teens to be extra cautious on Friday and Saturday nights, but a new AAA study of crash data shows after school hours can be just as deadly for teen drivers.

Volunteer TV's Gary Loe breaks down the AAA report and talks with a driver improvement instructor and also a Powell mom who lost her daughter in a fatal crash earlier this year.

School's out for the day, and many teen drivers head for their cars. Problem is, a new AAA study of crash data shows that nearly as many 16 and 17 year old drivers were involved in fatal crashes between 3 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday as were on Friday and Saturday nights between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

"It is very dangerous, it's heavy traffic hours," Carol McKee said.

Carol McKee of Powell lost her only child during those dangerous weekday hours on the last day of school back in May. McKee says her 17 year old daughter Rhiannon Galford, a Powell 11th grader, was on her way to work when she drove head-on into an elderly man, killing both of them.

"It's a nightmare, it's a nightmare, and I'm never going to be able to get over it," McKee said.

Police say Rhiannon was driving safely, but many teens involved in deadly crashes are not. Knoxville police report the main cause of all local teen crashes is young drivers following improperly.

"We need to get with parents more and talk with them and make sure that they understand how important it is to form a partnership with their teen driver," said Don Lindsey from AAA.

Driver improvement instructor Don Lindsey of AAA says during the unstructured hours between the end of school and when parents get home from work, many teens do risky things behind the wheel in cars loaded with passengers. McKee says she'd give anything to have her daughter back.

"Then at 6:15, I have a cop and a chaplain knocking at my door with my daughter's driver's license. You don't want that to happen," McKee said.

AAA recommends parents set driving rules for their teens. Require seat belts, ban cell phone use, not allow passengers, at least for the first several months of driving, and forbid teens to ride with new drivers.


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