Teaching Teens To Drive

Last week two teenagers took to the wheel; one ended up taking an elderly man's life, and the other injured a 14–year–old boy.

Even with the passage of Senate Bill 36 which is designed to make sure teens get more experience before they're allowed to get their driver's license, law enforcement agencies are finding many teens and parents aren't exactly clear on the new restrictions.

Teens have to have their learner's permit for at least one year and can only get one if they are 16–years–old; or are 15 and 6 months and have completed a four hour driver awareness course; or are 15–years–old and enrolled in a state–approved driver's education program. The new law also prohibits teens under the age of 18 from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. and they aren't allowed to carry any passengers under the age of 21 for at least the first 6 months.

According to Vera Mannel with Drive Quest, while it is important for parents to teach their kids to drive they shouldn't be the only ones. Mannel says a qualified instructor should help.

There are several driving schools in the grand valley to help teens learn to drive. Next month Drive Quest will offer two programs through Mesa County School District 51; one at Fruita Monument High and the other at Central High School. Mesa County also offers a course for parents to learn how to teach their kids to driver properly.

16–year–old drivers are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than the average of all other drivers.