Pediatrician's use tool kit to encourage safe driving among teen - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pediatricians use tool kit to encourage safe driving among teens

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Once the test is passed and the license is in hand, teens are quickly behind the wheel, which is often a huge worry for  parents.

"The first 6 months after you get a license is your highest risk of dying in a car crash for your entire life," said Kathy Monroe, a Professor of Pediatrics at Children's of Alabama.

Monroe said  the E. R. resuscitates about 370 trauma patients a year, a large number of them are adolescents.

"I am often in here with teens who have been in a motor vehicle crash. It is a very disturbing event when a teenager dies in a crash. Also, it is disturbing and really sad when teenagers are permanently injured in car crashes," said Monroe.

Most of the time, those injuries or deaths could have been prevented.

That is why Children's of Alabama, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Allstate Foundation have come up with a "texting tool kit".

The kit has detailed information about the graduated drivers license law, a 50 hour driving log for parents and teens to practice together,  also a contract, to make sure teens understand the rules of the road.

Pediatrician's like Dr. Courtney Baxley hope to teach kids about common mistakes that cause car wrecks. She has built a relationship with many of her patients and hopes to offer insight on the do's and don't's.

"Texting and driving is the main thing I hit on because I think for everyone it is hard to not have that phone in your hand, check an email at a red light, or use that cell phone while you are driving," said Baxley.

While texting and driving is against the law for everyone in Alabama, first year drivers cannot use a cell phone at all, while behind the wheel. It's part of that graduated law most parents are unaware of.

Monroe said, "When you are 16 and you get your license there are some rules and restrictions that weren't there before."

Under the law, drivers with a graduated license can only have one passenger in the car at a time, besides a parent or an adult with parental consent.

The law also states, they cannot drive between midnight and six a.m. without an adult. That all changes at age seventeen, when the license becomes unrestricted but the worries never change.

"It's difficult to see kids that have been in motor vehicle accidents because of texting and driving or just because of teenage driving. That is the reason I feel so passionate about this tool kit and getting the information out," said Baxley.

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