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AAA warns of dangers among teen drivers in the summer

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SALT LAKE CITY – Safe driving advocates are asking for states to take a long look at toughening distracted driving laws, especially when it comes to teen drivers.  Analysts from AAA say the number of fatal crashes always spikes this time of year.

Between Memorial Day and Labor day of 2016, analysts from AAA say there was a 14 percent jump in the number of fatal crashes across the country.

“More than a thousand fatal crashes happened during that period involving at least one teen driver,” according the AAA of Utah Spokesman Michael Blasky.

They’re asking for parents to have the heart-to-heart conversation with their kids about why driving can be so dangerous.  Blasky says speeding and night-time driving are two things they want parents to really focus on.  Thirty-six percent of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers happen between the hours of nine p,m, and five a.m., and 29 percent of fatalities among teens involve speeding.

Plus, just having another teen in the car can be distraction enough.

“Statistics show that if you two teens in the same car with no adult present, it’s something like a two times multiplier for that teen to be involved in a fatal crash,” Blasky says, adding, “If you add just another teen and have three teens, all of the sudden you have a small group.  The rates almost double from there.”

They’re also asking parents to set strict rules about cell phones in the car.  Blasky says parents ought to prohibit their teen drivers from using them at all behind the wheel.

“We really don’t believe that drivers of that age should have any incentive or any leeway when it comes to texting and driving or calling and driving,” he says.