Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off across Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off across Wisconsin

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - This week, the Wisconsin DOT is driving home the point of safety to one group in particular. This is Teen Driver Safety Week in Wisconsin.  Over the weekend, three teens were injured when a car crashed on a gravel road in Eau Claire County.

Some things that contribute to crashes haven't changed over the years.

"Obviously speed is critical, if we could get the teens to slow down a bit," said Marty Fadness, Safety and Respect Driving School Owner.

But others have recently popped up.

"A lot of the cell phones now are voice activated. You don't have to look down, you can voice activate that cell phone, but it's still is a distractive behavior," said Sheriff Ron Cramer of the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department.

Traffic crashes kill more teens in Wisconsin and across the country than anything else.  Last year, 48 Wisconsin teens were killed. That's why Governor Walker has set aside this week as Teen Driver Safety Week. Instructors say recent law changes have helped the effort.

"The idea of holding your permit for six months, getting the additional drive hours in before you get your license, restrictions on your license for how late you can drive, those types of things are all great ideas and they've shown to work. They've shown to work in other states, they've worked in Wisconsin," Fadness explained.

But they say work isn't done when students leave a classroom.

"Parents can control when a teen drives, what hours they drive, when they come home, when they go out. What routes are they taking? Who's in the car with them? Those types of things for the most part can be controlled or at least try to be controlled by parents," said Fadness.

Yet the combination of parents, educators, and law enforcement can only do so much.

"To only have one other person in the car for the first couple of years is really good. And now there will be no teenager operating a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle. Those are good safety features, now will the children adhere to it," Cramer said.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill banning anyone with a learning permit from using a cell phone while behind the wheel.

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