Rash of fatal crashes involving teens a reminder of road safety

Published On: Mar 15 2013 05:27:51 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A nationwide rash of deadly crashes in just one week has claimed the lives of 20 teenagers in five states.

Although none of these major crashes happened in Florida, it is putting Jacksonville parents on edge.

The Florida Highway Patrol says now is a good time to remind parents to talk to their children about safety on the road.

"Well, they're incredibly scary. You know, as a mom you don't want to put any kind of price on one accident, one child," said Valerie Feinberg, the mother of a teen driver.

That's all it takes -- one accident. And there are many factors for why they happen. Highway officials say last year there were more than 47,000 crashes involving teen drivers. Of those, 187 died. And so far this year, nearly 20 teen drivers have lost their lives on the road.

Officials say oftentimes distracted driving plays a role. That's a message Allison Turknett has been pressing on her 15-year-old son Chase, who recently got his learner's permit.

"No texting, no calling, not even looking down for a minute at the phone," Turknett said. "It has to be off, not even on vibrate."

These most recent fatal crashes may have all happened under different circumstances. But the one thing they all had in common was each teen driver had several teen passengers in the car at the time of the crash.

FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan said when it comes to keeping teens safe on the road, parents need to lead by example.

"We'd like to encourage the adults when children are in the vehicle with them to lead by example," he said. "You know, wait just a few minutes to make that call. Pull into a parking lot before you get to your destination before you have those distractions."

FHP says drivers need to make sure they urge their teens to be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists, a life-saving lesson.