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Editorial: Set limits for new drivers

Parents can help keep their teenage drivers safe by setting limits on the number of passengers that are allowed to go along with the young driver.

As part of Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 14-20, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety last week released statistics on teen drivers and fatalities and urged parents to take an active role in limiting the number of young passengers that new drivers can have.

The latest study, the AAA Foundation noted, builds on a May report that showed how, compared with driving alone, the risk of death in a traffic crash for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21, doubles with two passengers and quadruples with three or more younger passengers.

In addition, the study found that the percent of fatal crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers due to speeding, late-night driving or alcohol use increased with more teen passengers in the car.

The AAA Foundation noted that while Maryland prohibits provisional drivers from carrying passengers younger than 18 except for family members for the first five months of having their license, current best graduated license practices recommended by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute suggest limiting all teen passengers during the provisional license period.

Statistics consistently show that risks for young drivers increase as more kids pile in to the vehicle.

Knowing that, parents should be proactive, and should talk to their new driver about the added risks, as well as set limits that could help decrease the possibility of their child getting into an accident.

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