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5 to Drive: Keeping teen drivers safe

LAWTON, Okla._A national survey states car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 and 19. In 2013 alone, nearly 3,000 teens died as a result of crashes.

That's why the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help promote this year's "5 to Drive" campaign in recognition of Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign is designed to highlight the five traffic violations teens are mostly likely to commit.

Those five things include not drinking and driving, no more than one passenger in the car with you, stop speeding, buckle up and no texting and driving. They’re all things that Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Jacob Dickinson says teens should think of before getting behind the wheel.

Not only is Trooper Dickinson an officer, but he’s also a concerned parent with a driving teenager.

"When my daughter first got her driver’s license, I was like ‘oh my goodness, what are we going to do,’" Trooper Dickinson said.

Trooper Dickinson is teaching his 17-year-old daughter how to be safe while she travels.

"The rules of the road are what I teach her. I tell her to make sure she drives the speed limit, make sure to look ahead and keep her eyes moving and check mirrors frequently," he explained.

Trooper Dickinson says the most common problem he sees in teen drivers is speeding.

"Everybody thinks they can go a little over, you never know where we are at. People think that ‘I've not seen a trooper here in a while, so I can get away with it,’" he said.

The next most common thing Trooper Dickinson says is texting and driving. Something he says teens need to think twice about doing.

"You're going to crash, don't get comfortable and say under your breath ‘I can do it.’ It's going to be one little mess up and you can end your life just like that," Trooper Dickinson warned.

As for parents, Trooper Dickinson says you are where teens will learn about safe driving habits.

"I know teenagers are like ‘I know mom, I know dad,’ but you have to keep reminding them the rules of the road. To be safe, buckle up, don't text and drive, you have to just keep on them and on them," Trooper Dickinson said.

In the end, Trooper Dickinson says it is all about saving a life.

"You want our teens to live, you want them to see the future, there's a lot in the future for our teens, jobs, college, careers…everything," he said.

Trooper Dickinson says just because this week is designated as Teen Driver Safety Week, he hopes parents practice this all year long.

For more information on Teen Driver Safety Week, and tips on what to share with your teens, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website

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