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No More Training Wheels – Teen Drivers –

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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teen drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to my teenaged daughter, my cooking comes in at a close second. I am getting better, though I still burn Jello.

My bad cooking may be here to stay. But teen motor vehicle crashes are avoidable. There are proven policies to improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Factors that contribute to teen crashes and injuries include driver inexperience, driving with teen passengers, distractions, nighttime driving, not wearing seat belts and even drinking alcohol and driving. Just cutting out distractions, limiting night driving, monitoring passengers in the car and not calling or text messaging your teen while you know they are driving would help tremendously.

Among all age groups, teen drivers are at the greatest risk for accidents. Per mile driven, teen drivers are four times more likely than adult drivers to crash. Funny, it’s usually teens that make snide comments about older drivers. In fact, crash rates are highest during the first year of driving. And that crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car. In Texas, teens have restrictions on their license. One being that they cannot have more than one family member under the age of 21 in the car with them when they are driving. I suppose they just want you to kill one friend at a time, not all of them at once. Awesome idea, since we used to cram as many kids in the car as we could and just pack them in like sardines. This all plays into distracted driving, which is a huge contributing factor. That’s why, in some states like Texas, teen drivers also cannot talk on a cell phone or text while driving. There is also a curfew restriction for new drivers.

My teen just got her driver license a few months ago. So I have found many helpful websites that address teen driving tips. At you’ll find hundreds of safe driving and defensive driving tips from buying a car to driving in traffic, driving around school, and even tips on parallel parking. We used to call that parallel “chicken” when I was a teen.

Just keeping your teen drivers out of harm’s way isn’t the only issue here. The high cost of automobile insurance for a young driver is also an issue for most parents. Keeping a clean driving record will insure that your insurance premium doesn’t skyrocket. And who wants to spend a bunch of extra money on insurance when you have better things to spend your money on…like Jack Daniels.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist

Teen Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving



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With schools re-opening within the next few weeks…just a friendly reminder…look out!

Between school zone laws and passing a school bus with its alternating red lights flashing, you could find yourself facing some stiff penalties once school has started.Remember when you were a kid?Summer’s coming to an end.Your Mother takes you school shopping.How exciting was that??Then, the first day of school comes.You have all of your shiny new school supplies and those new pony fur hot pants you just couldn’t live without (o.k…those were a really bad idea).And about a half hour into the first day back, you’re like “Sh*t!She tricked me again.I hate school!!”

I remember my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.We’d skipped daycare and preschool because she had a nanny at home.So she wasn’t used to the conventional school happenings.When I picked her up that first half day, I asked her “So how was your first day of Kindergarten?”She said “I guess it was o.k.But I got in really big trouble.”“Why? What did you do?”“I don’t know, but they made me take a nap.”I also, with some coaxing on her part, admitted that I was, indeed, the tooth fairy.“Wow! You can fly???” was her unexpected response.

I told her how, when I was her age, my sisters and I would walk to school every day.She said “Why? Didn’t your parents love you??”I guess she had a good point.Now, if you allow your kids to walk anywhere without adult supervision, they may just get supervised by your friendly neighborhood predator.

So, remember, school zones are 20mph, even though in other states this speed varies.Yes, we all know, if you were going any slower, you’d be in reverse.But little ones will dart out right in front of you.They can’t be responsible for their own actions.The law takes child safety very seriously.And, in most cities, active school zones are hands-free.Meaning no hand-held devices.Both are sizeable fines.And most people get the double whammy because they were distracted by the cellphone and missed the flashing school zone light.Another thing to remember, school buses transporting kids to and from school make frequent stops to load and unload those little brats (that’s what the bus drivers call them…why can’t I??).When the bus driver turns on those alternating flashing lights, you must stop behind the bus.Not doing so is considered “Overtaking a School Bus” and is a sizeable fine.If you are on the opposite side of the street, going the opposite direction and there is a true median (grass, gravel, trees, cement or grassy knoll with a president buried there) separating your side from where the bus is, you do not have to stop for the bus.Although, you do have to stop for that bus if there is a divide in that median, or if there is only a painted line separating your side from the side where the bus is.

If you’re taking other people’s kiddos to school, you must have all children under the age of 5 years old or under 4’9” in a booster seat and all other kids must be seat belted.Thank God for that.Because, I don’t care what you say…kids are a major distraction.When I was a kid, we didn’t have cell phones or GPS and crap like that.The biggest distraction in the car when I was a kid…was kids!My Mom would have one hand on the wheel and the other just swinging away at us in the back seat.There is one advantage to taking other people’s kids to school though. You can get on the H.O.V. lane and use the kid as the second passenger.Brilliant?I think so.You may have just found your commuting partner.And it may just get you to work faster.

Until next week…watch out for kiddos.

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas )