State wants to improve teen driving stats

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - New statistics reveal that car accidents are the leading killer of teens in Alabama. Alabama is also the second worst state when it comes to the rate of teenage driver fatalities per capita.

Officials at AAA Alabama said generally teenage drivers are the least experienced and the biggest risk takers, and that can lead to problems. Alabama's graduated driver license law is weaker than a lot of other states.

Teenage drivers admit to texting, eating, talking to friends. They face a lot of distractions on the road, which makes it it harder to concentrate.

"I typically have my brother with me. So he can mess with the radio," said teenage driver Alex Close, "But when I'm by myself, it is definitely a distraction."

AAA spokesperson, Clay Ingram, said in addition to limiting distractions and staying alert, there are other things teens can do to become safer drivers.

"Parents need to get involved and talk to teens," said Ingram. "Teach them the right way to drive, and lead by example.  Also any type of certified driving instruction and defensive driving classes are great tools too."

The Alabama Department of Public Health is also starting a new campaign regarding the risks of teen driving.  In an effort to reach teens directly, officials have created a 30 second advertisement that has been running in movie theaters across the state. They plan to do so on billboards soon as well.

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