Law Enforcement Provides Tips for Teen Driving - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Law Enforcement Provides Tips for Teen Driving

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CLARKSBURG -

More teenagers die from automobile accidents than anything else.

More teens will be starting their engines when school lets out and summer begins.

"I have a stepdaughter, she's 16 and she's just learning to drive," said James Eubank, who's helping teacher his stepdaughter how to drive.

He said the biggest obstacle when teaching a teenager how to drive is convincing new drivers that they don't know everything.

"You think you know it all but you don't," Eubank said.

We're taught at a young age to buckle up before the car starts, but there's more to keeping your kid safe then making sure they put on their seatbelt.

Clarksburg Police Chief Marshall Goff said parents need to be parents before they are their kids' friend.

"You have to say, 'look, you're not going to have five to six kids in the car,'" Goff said.

Studies show that the risk of death in a crash increases by 44 percent with just one passenger under the age of 21 with a 16 or 17-year-old driver. That number doubles with two passengers under 21 and quadruples with three or more passengers.

Noise is a big distraction for all drivers. But teenagers are more likely to turn up their radios and boost their subwoofers.

"Car going by and they can hear it thumping three blocks away," Goff said.

But as iPods and MP3 players become more and more popular, some drivers are cruising with their headphones in. Chief Goff said that can prevent drivers from hearing emergency cars approaching, and horns that may be signaling danger ahead.

"Anything involved with listening to something else just distracts you," Goff said.

He also said cell phones are a big problem, especially for teens who sometimes get caught up in texting their best friend back right away.

Not texting while driving is more than just a suggestion though, it's now the law in West Virginia.

"Texting is already illegal, that's a primary offense," Goff said.

Driving with a handheld device will soon be illegal, too.

Goff said parents need to keep an eye on what their kids are doing in the car, and be prepared to take the keys away when they go astray.