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WHP Observes National Teen Driving Week

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Wyoming is observing National Teen Driver Safety Week this week as one way to raise teen awareness about distracted driving.  Statistically, Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tom Kelly says nearly 3100 people died across the nation as a direct result of distracted driving.  Kelly says however, the rate here is not quite as high as the national rate, but the teen drivers are the most inexperienced drivers and so need to be paying as much attention as possible to their responsibilities behind the wheel.  Kelly points out, “One of the things Wyoming did a couple years ago was change to a graduated drivers licensing system which kind-of addresses that.  When they first get their licenses now, they’re not allowed to have people who are not family members in the car with them for a little while they’re getting their experience on the road.”  He says that is something to keep in mind as well – is that there are distractions that aren’t caused by electronic devices, but just by what he calls “teens being teens in the car with loud music, horseplay and things like that.”  Kelly says all drivers can be distracted by cell phones, adjusting the radio, using a navigation system, CD player, or MP3 device, but unfortunately, it is the most inexperienced drivers—teens—who are the most likely to put themselves and others in harm’s way by driving distracted. While Kelly says troopers typically watch for instances of distracted driving here in Northwestern Wyoming, they hope to use this week to call particular attention to the risks.

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