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DRAPER — It's one of the dreaded roles of parenting: teaching a teenager how to drive.
And with car crashes as the no. 1 killer of teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zero Fatalities hopes to cut that number with parent-teen meetings held across the state at local high schools.
The meetings are like Driving 101 for teens and their parents. KSL TV attended the June 28 class at Corner Canyon High school and talked to those in attendance about the presentation and their driving experiences.
"We've had our great times and a few times I'm like, 'Put the brake on! Stop now!'" said Marie Wright. Her daughter, Megan Wright, 15, said, "Sometimes I'll make mistakes, but she's always there to correct me."
The mother-daughter driving team works hard to get in the 40 hours of supervised driving before Megan gets her license.
Sixteen-year-old Courtnie Hougaard said, "I'm very excited, but I'm still nervous about it because I haven't done it very much."
Her mother, Kristie Hougaard said, "We're going to put in a lot more hours because I need to know that she's confident. I'm not confident until she's confident."
Teen driver Zach Adams said about his mother, "She always goes 'Shhh.' It really bugs, cause you will like come up to a stop sign a little bit too fast and she (says), 'Shhhh," and you think that you're about to get hit."
His mother, Annie Adams said, "It's a pretty scary experience actually, but he's actually done pretty well."
"Parents are really the critical component to keeping kids safe," said Corner Canyon Driver's Education teacher Russ Boyer. "I think the parents are the ones who actually enforce the graduated driver's license laws that are in place."
Since Utah instituted the Graduated Driver License program in 1999, parents have seen a 62 percent decrease in the number of teens ages 15-17 killed in motor vehicle crashes.
That is why Boyer invites all his students and parents to attend a parent/teen Zero Fatalities presentation.
"Last year, we lost 280 lives on Utah roads," community outreach coordinator for Zero Fatalities Kylie Christensen told the audience. Thirty-four of those deaths were teen fatalities. That's nine more than 2015.
To get that number down to zero, educators like Christensen focus on the five deadly driving behaviors:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Impaired driving
- Not buckling up
"That is a pretty big guy. If any of us in this room are in that front seat or that back seat, we would not be OK," Christensen said.
The message hits home for the teens in attendance.
"I learned today like how actual people drive in the real world and how they can actually hurt somebody when somebody's not wearing a seat belt," said 15-year-old Lydia Vogel.
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For the next parent-teen meeting at your local high school go to www.ut.zerofatalities.com. Scroll down to events. You can also request a presentation.