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Experience Essential for Teen Drivers

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RALEIGH — All it takes is practice.

Statistics show that one out of every four first-year drivers gets into acar crash. Of those teens involved in accidents, 40% are either injuredor killed.

However, there are ways to help curb the number of teens hurt behind thewheel. For many kids, their first experience on the highway is withsomeone like Kenneth Fulford, a Wake County driver's educationinstructor. Fulford says that his role in the learning process is only tolay a foundation for the student driver.

Fulford insists that when his course is finished, the ball bounces intothe parents' court. He says that mom and dad have to reinforce the basicsthat he teaches.

However, each year in North Carolina, 60,000 teenagers bypass theirlearners'permits. Instead, they wait until they turn sixteen, and then, withlittle experience behind the wheel, they get theirdriver's license. That inexperience has led to an increasing number ofaccidents.

A driver's education class is not the only way pick up the basics ofhighway safety. Some insurance companies will send video tapes to youngdrivers, showing them how to stay safe on the road.

However, according to N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Winstead, the bestway for parents to protect their commuting kids is to be a passenger for awhile.

Practice may not make perfect, but it can give young drivers a betterchance at years of safer driving.

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