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Young drivers cautioned of '100 Deadliest Days' in Nebraska

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 19:51:45-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At the tender age of 17, Sam Kleinschmit admits he's seen some friends get in minor car accidents.

"I think most people especially in the later high school years see driving as kind of a normal task. Not that hard. So they don't feel like they need to put that much attention into it. So they multitask and do other things," Kleinschmit said.

That's something driving instructor Dennis De Long sees all the time with teenagers. He admits he's seen former students die in crashes.

"It wasn't that they were a poor driver; it was the behavior associated with that. So they became complacent or maybe were with other teenagers it was a moment of lapse of thinking and it could happen to anybody," De Long said.

We are in what AAA calls it the "100 Deadliest Days," a period between Memorial Day and Labor Day that sees a higher rate of teen driving deaths. If you have a teen learning the "ropes of the road" AAA says some things you can do are wear a seatbelt, avoid distracted driving, texting, putting on make-up and stop speeding.

De Long says it takes five years to become a driver of "average skill." Teenage drivers require a bit more focus. He encourages parents to ride along with their kids as much as possible and to establish all the rights and wrongs.

"For the teenagers, they may see their parents speed. So therefore they think, well that's something that I can do, or they may see the cars on the street, they're driving by real fast, and it just becomes a habit once they establish that and that's not good," De Long said.

"No one wants to be that person who dies at a young age - it's very important for us to live long and keep our families happy," Kleinschmit said.

In Nebraska, on average, six teenage drivers are involved in fatal crashes during the "100 Deadliest Days."

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