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GEICO encourages parents to talk safe driving with teens before summer break

teen driver (select to view enlarged photo)

WASHINGTON--May 24, 2013: Proms, graduations and backyard parties are now underway and more and more teens will be on the road as summer heats up. GEICO recommends that now is the time for parents to talk to their teens about safe driving as summer vacation gets into full swing.

The number one topic to discuss is texting while driving. Almost half of all teens age 16 and up have admitted to texting while driving. A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows that those who text and drive are more likely to take part in other risky driving behaviors like not wearing a safety belt or drinking and driving.

First and foremost GEICO reminds parents to be good role models for their young drivers. If you talk or text on your cell phone while you're driving, your teens are likely to do the same thing. Make it a family rule: safely pull over to the side of the road if you absolutely have to make a call. Catch up on calls and texts after you get where you're going.

Here are a few more safe driving reminders you'll want to go over with your teen.

Always wear a safety belt. According to the CDC, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and only 54 percent of high school students reported wearing seat belts when riding with someone else. Talk to your teen about the importance of safety belts. That goes for passengers as well as the driver.

Limit the number of passengers. The risk of a fatal crash and severe injuries increases with every additional passenger. You don't want your teen to drive with several friends in the car.

Limit night time driving. It's important for teens to practice night driving, but set restrictions on their driving times.

Talk to your teens about underage drinking and drug use. It's illegal. It raises the risk of a serious or fatal crash. It could cost them their license...or maybe even their life.

Consider a parent-teen driving contract. Make it a serious agreement for both teens and their parent. Everyone in the family is accountable for how they drive. To get started take a look at GEICO's parent-teen driving contract on its teen website. It can be downloaded from the site along with a number of other teen safe driving brochures, tip sheets and DVDs at no cost.