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Samantha Hayes ReportingIn a few weeks, June will mark the end of school and the start of summer. For teenagers with a driver's license, it also means freedom. Summer months are also some of the most dangerous for young drivers.
When school is out, teenagers spend more time on the roads. Simple things like switching the radio station or talking to friends can significantly impair an inexperienced driver. Statistics show 56 percent of teenage drivers talk on the cell phone while behind the wheel. Fifty-five percent speed.
As we have reported before, a cell phone conversation slows the average teenagers reaction time to that of a 70-year-old driver.
These distractions can cause a young driver, or any driver for that matter, to make a mistake. Too often teenagers don't get a second chance to learn from that mistake.
Randy Akers, with Utah Highway Patrol, said, "Hopefully though, and I will speak honestly, it seems to be improving. And I think more teens are getting this and understand the consequences. Whether it's their parents telling them or us telling them or making mistakes and learning quicker."
Akers says in most fatal accidents in Utah, seatbelts were not being used, and those fatal crashes happen more frequently in rural areas. This is why the Utah Highway Patrol is continuing with their Click It or Ticket Campaign, starting again next week. There will be several blitzes going on throughout the State.
Troopers say they will be looking in particular for young drivers. They want to enforce good habits early on and remind them of the risk, after all, car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in the U.S.