AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) October 21st- October 27th is National Teen Driving Awareness Week. With more teen drivers on the road than ever before, it’s an important time to share tips to stay safe behind the wheel.
16-year-old Shawn O’Callaghan wasted no time getting his drivers license. “I took my road test and then when I passed I was super excited and my mom was there,” he said. “So then when I passed I went to McDonald’s by myself.”
He’s included in the 60 percent of teens getting their drivers license before the age of 18. That’s up 11 percent in the last decade. “Everyone that I know is getting it as soon as they can,” he said.
But before he could get behind the wheel alone, he had to learn the rules of the road. “It’s very important to get those 50 hours in,” said AAA Instructor Victor Morales. “The more time you spend behind the wheel, the more experience you get and the better driver you’re going to be.”
AAA of Western and Central New York says to remember the acronym READ:
Right speed, right now.
Eyes up, brain on.
Anticipate their next move.
and leave a Doughnut of space around your vehicle.
AAA says new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely to be involved in a deadly crash.
New York State Trooper Jim O’Callaghan has seen it happen first hand. “Over 2019 we have 18 fatal collisions, six of those who died are under 18 years old,” he said.
He offered this advice for parents and teens. “Tell them the dangers of speeding, wear your seat belt and don’t drive distracted,” said O’Callaghan. “Combined with driver inexperience, any one of those things can be seriously fatal or that’s what’s going to get them in some sort of collision.”
If you are looking for more information or to get into a driving class click here.