TEENAGE DRIVING: Local instructor reminding people of potential dangers

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Chuck Somers with Northeast Driving School has been teaching teens to drive for 6 years.

He says, "People need to know how to drive accordingly."

He says many factors can lead to crashes involving teens but bad weather, speed, and distracted driving are top of the list.

He adds, "They may think that if the speed limit is 35 on a bright sunny day that tomorrow when it's snowing and slippery 35 is still the speed limit, not necessarily the case. Doesn't mean you try to do the speed limit. It's only a suggestion because you can't succeed it so the police would say slow down."

Experts say drivers between 16 to 24 are involved in nearly 40 percent of all crashes in our state.

He says, "Teenagers have this 'it can't happen to me' attitude where a crash can't occur. But, it can occur and it does occur and it happens every year in the state of Maine."

Maine DOT says one out of five 16 and 17-year-old drivers will be involved in a crash this year.

That's more than four times greater than the average rate for all drivers.

He says, "If you have the radio on of if you have more than one person in the car it just gets harder for younger students because their attention is pulled elsewhere and when that occurs all of sudden your multitasking has just magnified."

Teens are required to practice driving for at least 70 hours including 10 hours at night before they are allowed to have an intermediate license.

Somers says the more time experienced drivers spend with kids behind the wheel, the better they will be.

Somers says, "Is there any difference with that car going down a road or somebody holding a loaded gun? Either one will kill just as quick if you don't use them properly. "