Teen Driving Deaths Up 20 Pct. - 8 News NOW

Teen Driving Deaths Up 20 Pct.

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LAS VEGAS -- Teenagers are facing more dangers on the road, not just as pedestrians, but as drivers.

Teen driving deaths across the country have jumped nearly 20 percent, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Just this past weekend, a car crashed and rolled over near the Springs Preserve. A 16-year-old boy was in the drivers seat and the rollover sent six people to the hospital.

For Kelly Thomas Boyers, the wreck is all too familiar. Six years ago, on March 18, she lost her 21-year-old son in a car wreck.

"It just makes me outrage," she said. "They swerved their car, rolled and my son was ejected. He was not wearing a seatbelt."

Boyers' loss has turned into a mission. She is launching a teenage drive school because she said an online course isn't enough.

"Teaching someone to drive in an online class is like teaching someone to swim, but not in a swimming pool," she said.

In the report released this week, deaths among teenage drivers in the United States are increasing.

The number jumped close to 20 percent in the first six months of 2012.

Safety advocate Erin Breen said Nevada lost three teen drivers last year in car wrecks, but many more have been killed as pedestrians and passengers, including the 15-year-old boy killed in a crash near Lake Mead and Rainbow boulevards last weekend.

"Parents need to spend more time investing on their children," Breen said. "You would be surprised how many parents lie about their 50-hour log.

"Teenagers need to realize they are not invincible."

Breen advises parents to make driving education classes with a teacher mandatory, even when schools don't' offer them.

Boyers said she hopes to have her driving school up and running soon to help more families avoid the heartbreak she still feels years after losing her son.

"We have a very passionate instructor we have hired," she said. "I have lost so much of what his life would evolved to be. We all have as a society, especially with a young person."

Because of budget cuts, only two schools in the Clark County School District offer mandatory driving education.

For parents interested in learning more about how to help their teens become good drivers, a special expo is happening at UNLV April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Science and Engineering building. For more information, call 702-875-1780.

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