More teen drivers will be out on the roads now that the school year is ending. A report from AAA calls it the "100 deadliest days." And the CHP backs up the claim
"Driving, auto collisions, distracted and reckless driving is the number one killer of teens in America, which is a real tragedy," said Officer David Singer, who works in community outreach with the Fresno CHP.
"I still get nervous–just the thought of it," said Rebecca Garcia, a new driver.
Her mother, Gina Garcia, said the main thing she tells her daughter about driving is to put down the cell phone.
"There’s a lot of distractions–I mean, even for myself." Garcia said. "I’ve been driving for years, and I get distracted with tons of stuff, so I can imagine with her."
According to the CHP, phones are one of the biggest distractions for drivers–not just teens, but anybody.
And for young drivers experiencing the newfound freedom that comes with a license, "the number one distraction in the car for teens–best friends," Singer said.
Even when drivers are safe, it’s everyone else on the road drivers have to watch out for.
Daniel Cooper knows this all to well, having a young child to think of.
"It’s not a game. I know once you get out of high school and you get your license, you think that you’re unstoppable–you might have a nice car," Cooper said.
Insurance agent Ronald Wells with Farmers Insurance said he emphasizes to new drivers that they could be paying for careless mistakes for a really long time–especially if they’re not properly insured.
"If it’s a serious accident, it could bankrupt the parents, and I don’t think the kids are really aware of that situation," Wells said.
The CHP offers a "Start Smart" class for parents and their teen drivers where they teach them the reasons new drivers are likely to get into car accidents and what they can do to prevent them. The classes are offered once a month at the Fresno CHP offices.