Rural Metro: Driver safety tips for teens

Jeff BagwellFeature

In our September Safety Message, Rural Metro Fire wants to continue to talk about driver safety with our young teen drivers. We all need to realize and understand these new drivers are not experienced drivers and have more patience with them on the roadways. We were there once too.

Teens will be driving to school during the week, football games on the weekends, and parties and get togethers as well as studying sessions. They are out there! Radios are turned up, and then they try to talk to each other over the loud radio. They can’t hear sirens of emergency vehicles and will be slow to respond.

There are some reminders about the laws as they pertain to underage drivers.

First, a driver under the age of 18 can only have one (1) other passenger in the car with them unless there is a passenger over the age of 21 with an unrestricted license. This is to help teen drivers have fewer distractions and be able to focus more on the road.

Second, teen drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones in any school zone, period. That means no hands-free or blue-tooth devices, even if they come on the car.

Parents should encourage their young drivers to learn their vehicle. How do you turn the lights on; are they automatic? How do you turn the wipers on? Basic things that new drivers may take for granted. What about roadside maintenance? Can they change a tire? Driving during the day with running lights or headlights on improves visibility and safety. Young drivers may not know or remember that you should turn your lights on 30 minutes before sun down and leave them on 30 minutes after sun up. Some basic things that experienced drivers may know, but young teen drivers may not.

Rural Metro Fire is a division of AMR, the nation’s largest provider of emergency services. Its 200 full-time and on-call firefighters operate from 17 stations serving Knox County since 1977. Rural Metro is member-funded, and its members generally pay far less for homeowner’s insurance because of having a subscription to the Department. Non-members are charged for services and do not benefit from insurance premium savings. Property owners can subscribe to Rural Metro by calling its Members Services Office at 560-0239.

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