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Legislators should tighten teen driving laws

Our legislators have promised a brighter future for our state's youth. Making their safety a top priority should be a cornerstone of that promise. Life-saving legislation that protects our youngest and most vulnerable drivers would be a good place to start.

Crash statistics involving teen drivers are sobering. Crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and they are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers. Using cell phones while driving, driving or riding with their peers or driving late at night all significantly increase teen drivers' already high crash risk. Laws prohibiting these practices will help reduce that risk and make our roadways safer for everyone.

As the leader of the Maryland Teen Safe Driving Coalition, an initiative of the National Safety Council and The Allstate Foundation, I implore our lawmakers to become strong advocates for teen driving safety. The first year of licensure is the most dangerous year for new drivers and strong driving laws are proven to reduce crashes. Let's make the next few years the safest for Maryland teen drivers.

Cathy Gillen, Hanover

The writer is leader of the Maryland Teen Safe Driving Coalition.

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