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AAA: Safety important for new teen drivers going back to school

PHOENIX — As more school districts start up across the Valley this week, a wave of freshly-licensed teens will be getting behind the wheel and driving themselves to school for the first time.

AAA Arizona’s Stephanie Dembowski said it’s an important time for parents to talk with their kids about being safe while driving.

“So if you’re a parent with a teen driving and maybe this is the first year they’ll be driving to school you really want to go over with them the importance of all of those things, remaining alert and maybe they’re driving their friends to school, they need to stay focused,” Dembowski said.

“They need to stay focused on the task at hand and that’s getting to school safe.”

With most teens now equipped with cell phones and other electronic devices, Dembowski said there are no shortages of distractions for young drivers so parents need to be vigilant in reminding their kids to stay focused.

Dembowski said drivers who take their eyes off the road for only two seconds double their chances of getting in an accident.

She also said it’s important for parents to set good examples for their kids.

“If they see you messing with the radio, talking on the phone (or) texting and driving while they’re in the car, they’re going to think it’s OK for them to do it too,” she said.

AAA Arizona has several resources available to parents to help teach their teens about safe driving, Dembowski said. Those resources include several safety programs that can be accessed here.