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New vehicle features help combat distracted driving among teens

According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are responsible for the deaths of six teens every day. While many teens deny texting and driving, statistics show that 25 percent of them responded to a text message one or more times every time they get behind the wheel.

Fortunately, there are a variety of new technologies specifically for teens that may help prevent some Louisiana car accidents caused by texting while driving. Car companies, including Hyundai and Chevy, have made an effort to implement these new features into their latest models. The "Teen Driver" system in the new Chevy Malibu allows parents to program their child's key so that the car will know when the teen is driving. The program will prevent the radio from turning on unless seatbelts are fastened and allow parents to set a maximum volume level. Parents may set a speed limit for their teen and the teen will be warned if the limit is exceeded. Parents can look at a report card of their child's driving to see how safe they were. Ford and Hyundai have also come up with similar systems to help parents better protect their children from roadway dangers.

For parents with cars that do not have these features, there are multiple applications on your phone that can help. Certain applications disable texting and e-mails while driving altogether, or when the vehicle is traveling at a rate higher than 10 miles per hour. While some of these measures may seem extreme to some, they may be essential. Nearly 20 percent of teens have reported having lengthy conversations via text message while driving. Adults aren't always safe either. Ten percent of parents admit to doing the same thing.

Despite all of the efforts to reduce car accidents, nearly 2,600 teens are killed and 130,000 are injured in car accidents every year. Numerous Lake Charles families are affected by texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving and will continue to be for many years to come.

Source: CBS New York, "Car Companies Add New Features to Protect Drivers From Distracted Teens," Dec. 23, 2015

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