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Education and consequences can keep teen drivers safer

When parents are facing the task of teaching their new teenager how to drive in New Jersey, they are often not alone in their concern that their children will be able to handle the task of driving in a responsible manner. The truth is, driving can be incredibly risky and dangerous for even the most experienced drivers if they are negligent, reckless or careless. What all parents should remember is that teaching a teenager to drive is about more than instructing him or her about traffic laws. It is also about instilling a sense of responsibility and an understanding of how one poor decision could put the lives of many at risk. 

According to The New York Times, a parent's responsibility to teach their children how to drive does not begin once their children turn 16. On the contrary, it begins the minute they first buckle their infant into their vehicle. They should constantly be aware of the behaviors they are engaging in and those they are avoiding behind the wheel, in an effort to set a good example of the type of attention that should be given to driving. When they go to teach these principles when their children are driving age, it will be positively reinforced by the fact that their child has already witnessed this type of behavior for many years previously. 

While driver's education programs are helpful in giving teenagers some experience in operating a motor vehicle, those programs alone are not enough to develop the experience that is needed for a teenager. Experts suggest that even once a teenager has successfully graduated their driver's education program, parents should continue to provide a variety of driving opportunities in different areas to help their child acquire the skills and confidence of an experienced driver. 

Safekids.org suggests that parents set clear ground rules and expectations before they allow their children to have the privilege of taking the car. Some examples include setting limits on the number of people in their vehicle, developing consequences for any kind of impaired or careless driving, and putting restrictions on cell phone use or other distractions that could be dangerous. 

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