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January/February 2017 Issue

Speeding and distraction among the top mistakes teens make while driving

When teens make mistakes in high school, they might get a bad grade or have to serve a detention. But when they make them behind the wheel, the consequences can be deadly.

Over the past five years, teen drivers were involved in nearly 14,000 fatal crashes and more than 4,200 of those crashes involved speeding. According to a AAA survey of driving instructors, speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.

With 65 percent of those instructors also reporting that parents today are worse at preparing their teens to drive compared to a decade ago, AAA cautions parents that their involvement is key to preventing deadly mistakes.

“When teens are involved in crashes, nearly two-thirds of the people injured or killed in those crashes are people other than the teens themselves,” said Mike Right, vice president of AAA Public Affairs. “The importance of parents being actively involved in teaching their teens to drive safely can’t be overstated.”

In the survey, Skills of Novice Teen Drivers, 142 driving instructors revealed the top three mistakes include:

  • Speeding: Traveling over posted speed limits or too fast for road conditions
  • Distraction: Interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle
  • Poor Visual Scanning: Driving with tunnel vision and not properly scanning the road for risks or hazards

“We all know that the combination of inexperience and risk-taking can be a deadly one,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of State Relations for AAA. “Parents need to understand the common mistakes teens are making and take the time to help their teens learn how to stay safer on the road.”



Tips to help keep teen drivers safe

Research shows that teens with parents who impose stricter driving limits reported fewer crashes and traffic violations. AAA recommends parents stay actively involved in coaching their teens through the learning-to-drive process by:

  • Having conversations early and regularly about the dangers of speeding and distraction
  • Taking the time to practice driving with their teens in varying conditions
  • Adopting and enforcing a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for the road
  • Leading by example and minimizing distractions and speeding when they are driving

Resources to help parents coach their teen through the learning-to-drive process can be found at



REAL ID system gets real in Arkansas and Louisiana

Louisiana and Arkansas have implemented new driver’s license systems to comply with the REAL ID Act, which was adopted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to improve security.

Under the Act, beginning in 2020, anyone who boards a domestic flight or enters a federal building will either need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card or will need to provide a regular card and additional accepted forms of identification, such as a U.S. passport.

States like Mississippi and Alabama are among 23 states that were already compliant with the new system. Arkansas and Louisiana were among the states operating under extensions, but they both began issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs in October.

In Louisiana, to get a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, residents will have to provide a certified copy of their birth certificate or an unexpired passport along with their Social Security number. They will also have to prove Louisiana residency by providing documents like utility or phone bills. A complete list of acceptable documents and more details can be found at

Similar documents, including proof of Social Security number, are needed to obtain the Arkansas Voluntary Enhanced Security driver’s license or ID, which are compliant with the REAL ID Act. The new cards are available in 25 of the 134 revenue offices in Arkansas. For details, visit

For those who currently hold a valid driver’s license or ID in Arkansas and Louisiana, there is no need to immediately replace that credential to board a plane. You will be offered the option upon renewal or if you request a duplicate.

The cost for a REAL ID-compliant license is the same as for a regular license in both states. Regular licenses are still available in both states, but they won’t be accepted to board a plane or enter a federal facility starting in 2020.


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