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Hoping to curb teen related car crashes

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Summer is obviously looking much different this year with many canceling travel plans, but the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) says summer is still the deadliest time of year for teen drivers across the country.

The NRSF calls the time from Memorial Day to Labor Day the "100 Deadliest Days" because the teen death rate for car crashes spikes.

In turn, the NRSF is putting on a campaign hoping to make this the safest summer ever for drivers, especially teens.

Director of Operations at the NRSF Michelle Anderson says the first step to curbing teen-related crashes is to talk with your teen and engage in conversation, especially centered on distracted driving.

"When you hear that word 'Distraction' everyone thinks it's the phone, but it's more than the phone. It's engaging in a really in-depth conversation. It's having too many passengers in your car.," said Anderson. "The teen driver is not yet experienced enough to have so much activity going on in the car while they're trying to concentrate on the road."

The NRSF says that teens are four times more likely to end up at the hospital due to a car-related accident and not because of COVID-19.

"In the state of Wisconsin nearly 40 teens died in 2018 and that's an obscene number…one is obscene," said Anderson.

Sergeant Tom Walsh from the La Crosse Police Department says we're no stranger to teen related accidents.

"Inattentive driving is a factor in a number of our crashes and that's one of those things that is certainly preventable," said Walsh. "Those phone calls can wait, those text messages can wait. There's nothing more important than what you're doing while you're driving that car and that's paying attention, knowing what's happening in your surroundings and not being distracted."

Parents, experts say that you are a big influence as to how your child drives.

"Be a good role model. If a teen sees that you're driving and talking on the phone, you're checking your emails, you're trying to reach for that purse for your lip gloss, they think it's ok," said Anderson.

To find out more about the free driving tips and programs offered to teens and parents, click here.

Warren Sears

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