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Dutchess County parents protecting their young drivers

It's prom and graduation season. Summer time means teens will be celebrating and probably on the road every hour of the day or night. Therefore, many of your neighbors are instilling rules for their new drivers this summer. According to the Teen Safe Driving Coalition, the risk of a teen driver crashing goes up 48 percent for each additional passenger they have in the vehicle with them. That's why some parents do not allow any passengers in the car with their young drivers.

Distracted driving, texting and driving, finding a song on their iPod, juvenile drunk driving and plain old inexperience causes teen drivers to crash and receive traffic tickets and violations everyday in Poughkeepsie. Plus, young drivers often take the most risks. The irony, one member of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board says, is that parents usually give their kids the older family cars that don't have all the latest safety equipment built in.

To curb risky driving habits, The Council on Addiction Prevention and Education of Dutchess County has been holding several mock accidents and hosting speakers throughout the school district. Speeches presented by those closest to car accidents like victims, first responders and family members include information on a long list of activities that can cause distracted driving, not just drugs or alcohol.

That's why New York has the graduated license laws for young drivers. If your child is driving on a junior license (16 - 18 years of age) the hours, circumstances and penalties are different than those with full driving privileges.

It's not only up to parents, but it's up to their peers to enforce safe driving tactics. Don't get into a car if you suspect your friend has been drinking. Don't let them text and drive. If they do, get out at the next stop and call the police. Your life could depend on it.

Source:, "Parents seek to protect teen drivers," Marji Yablon, May 13, 2012

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