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Officials advise parents to set example for safe driving for teens

During National Teen Driver Safety Week from Oct. 15 through 21, officials remind parents to set proper driving techniques for their teens.

During National Teen Driver Safety Week from Oct. 15 through 21, officials remind parents to set proper driving techniques for their teens.

In the state of Texas, the total of fatal crashes involving a teen dropped from 7,500 in 2005 to 4,308 in 2015.

Driver Zone Driving School instructor Joey Hernandez believes the change in numbers is a result of the advancement of safety and education behind the wheel.

“Obvious reason that I can think of for that drop is education just with having informed people,” Hernandez said. “Then they’re going to make better decisions and that comes with being in the classroom.”

Though studies have shown a drop in teen fatalities, accidents involving teens continue to occur in the Rio Grande Valley.

On Aug. 3, a fatal accident in Hidalgo County involved a 16-year-old driver who had a learner’s permit, but was not accompanied in the vehicle by a person who was at least 21 years or older with a driver’s license.

Investigators later learned two passengers in the vehicle were teens. By law in the state of Texas, there can only be one additional non-relative minor in the car when the individual driving only has a learner’s permit.

Nineteen-year-old Felix Muñoz, who was involved in an accident after he tried to pick up a water bottle from the floor, says distracted driving contributes to the reckless driving of teens.

“Just pay attention and stuff can wait--it’s not priority when you’re driving,” Muñoz said. “You just got to make sure your surroundings are right and focus on the road.”

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Octavio Saenz encourages parents to start setting an example for their kids when behind the wheel.

“Making sure that your kids know your attitudes towards safe driving because that is what they will emulate, not what you say, but what you do,” Saenz said.

Driver’s Zone Driving School and the Texas Department of Transportation have several resources that can help educate your child on proper driving techniques and safety.

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