Instructor: Distraction is biggest danger for teen drivers - New York News

Instructor: Distraction is biggest danger for teen drivers

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RICHFIELD, Minn. (KMSP) -

For most adults, defensive driving was the focus of driver's ed -- but now, instructors are trying steer teens away from being distracted on the road.

As the memorial for the two teens who died in Burnsville on Tuesday grows, so too does the understanding of what it takes to be a teen driver.

At Elite Driving School in Richfield, James Kilibarda speaks with his students about distracted driving each and every day.

"Food, make-up, iPods, music -- all these things are distractions," Kilibarda explained.

Talking about distractions is one thing, but telling the real story of two teens dying is another. He says the recent tragedy shows that people drivers to be leaders in the car.

"You have to be the mature one. You are responsible. You have to say, 'Guys, relax, shut up,'" Kilibarda said.

Kilibarda stresses that both drivers and passengers need to speak up so a driver can concentrate when distractions threaten the safety of the trip.

The number of young people inside a car is also a huge topic in the class, because having just one person under the age of 21 increases a 16- or 17-year-old driver's chance of dying by 44 percent. Two people doubles that risk. Three young people will quadruple the risk.

Unsurprisingly, teens focus on the road more with an adult in the car, and Kilibarda said it's crucial that parents be leaders by practicing what they preach.

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