If you have a new teen driver in your home, chances are you're a little uneasy every time he or she heads out the door with the keys. Understandably so, as car crashes continue to remain the No. 1 cause of death for teens - causing more deaths every year than suicide, drugs and alcohol combined.

With these alarming statistics in mind, what can parents do to minimize the chances that tragedy strikes their family? The good news is: Plenty.

Studies have consistently shown that parental involvement is a key factor in reducing teen crashes. For this reason, AAA encourages parents to get involved, and stay involved. Below are a few resources to help families who have teens entering the learning-to-drive phase:

Permit or supervised driving phase:

• Select a quality driving school. Parents can utilize AAA Arizona's Approved Driving School Network to find a quality driving school in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

• Take advantage of driver training programs. Several programs are available to fit your family's needs including teenSMART, a supplement that will result in substantial insurance discounts through AAA, as well as other tools to keep teen drivers safer.

• Sign up for AAA's "Dare to Prepare" workshops. These free workshops for members are designed to help parents and pre-permit, permitted or newly licensed teen drivers learn to navigate the learning-to-drive process.

For more information on any of these programs for novice drivers, visit http://www.aaaaz.com/news/drivertraining.htm or call (602) 241-2945.

Licensed teens between 16 to 18 years of age:

The inaugural AAA Teen Driving Experience presented by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is on Oct. 16. Participants will experience several of the specialized training exercises used in Bondurant's full-day and multi-day teen driving safety classes. With more behind the wheel time learning life-saving driving maneuvers, your teen driver will walk away with the resources and knowledge they can use to prevent a crash.

During the event, your teen will participate in:

• Specialized defensive driving exercises used in Bondurant's full- and multi-day teen driving courses, including accident avoidance, skid control and autocross.

• AAA's Dare to Prepare plus Car Care workshop, which gives teens the tools they need to know to maintain their vehicle and keep them safer behind the wheel.

• Raffle prizes, including a one-day Advanced Teenage Driving Course, valued at $1,175.

Also available during the event for parents and teens:

• Bondurant ProKart Ride and Drive for $25 per session, from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Available for purchase at the event.

• Visit various display booths for information.

Spaces are limited for this event. For more information and to register, visit www.aaaaz.com/teenevent or call (602) 241-2945.

Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.


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