(WUSA9) -- The third week of October is National Teen Driver Safety Week and we're kicking off the "Extra Mile" week-long series about the initiative with John Kuo, Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.
The theme this year is "It Takes Two: shared expectations for teens and parents." The State of Maryland is recognizing the program with this driver safety tips card. Kuo told us what was on this card and what parents can do to support their teens when they are driving.
NHTSA: Teen drivers (http://1.usa.gov/12GUZzM)
"Besides putting on the seat belt, don't text and drive, don't use the handheld cell phone while you are driving, try to restrict passengers as well. Studies have shown that teens that carry young passengers with them, it causes them to be distracted, causes them to not focus on their driving," stated Kuo.
And this may surprise you: most accidents involving teens occur between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. Kuo told us, "They are not supposed to be driving after midnight until 5:00 a.m. We encourage parents to stay involved as well."
Kuo also talked about the process teens have to go through to get their licenses in Maryland: "Maryland has one of the strongest graduated driving programs in the country. We're actually one of the first states to institute a graduated licensing program since the late 1990s. It's basically a three-stage process. The first stage is obviously the learning period, and in our state we have passed laws to allow that for a total learner's permit for up to two years. Taking driver's ed, then you take your screening test and skills test and you graduate to a provisional driver's license, which comes with a lot of restrictions."
And the driving laws changed as of October 1. Kuo told us, "Texting has always been prohibited in the state of Maryland. But the law changed on October 1st, and basically prohibits any individual to be holding a handheld cell phone device."
It's not just about teens. "Every driver needs to be parking their cell phones and focusing on driving," said Kuo.