The first weeks of school can be a dangerous time for teen drivers. EMSA says it responds to almost six times as many accidents involving teenagers when school starts.
There are a number of reasons teen drivers get into fender-benders the first week of school--talking on the phone, texting, listening to loud music, and so on. But the experts agree all of those can be controlled to prevent unnecessary injuries.
During lunch time at Union High School, juniors and seniors go off campus to catch a quick bite to eat. Some are paying attention and others are on their cell phones or listening to loud music, distractions that can make up the ingredients for a car accident.
EMSA says, this time of year brings six times as many accidents with teen drivers behind the wheel.
"We hear all sorts of things. We hear, 'I didn't see them', to 'I thought I had enough time', to 'I thought I could make it out,'" said EMSA spokesman Michael Ginn.
Ginn said most of the accidents are fender-benders, but each one can bring a host of medical problems.
"Burns from the airbag going off, restraint markings from seatbelts, knee injuries going into the dashboard, things like that," he said.
EMSA says the majority of the accidents happen in the afternoon, when the driver is tired from a long day at school and in a hurry to get home.
Terry Watters has been teaching driver's ed for 35 years. He said he's seen a lot of things change, but one constant, he said, is inattentive driving. Teenagers love their phones and, Watters said parents need to set a good example to keep their teens off their phones while driving.
"If you're talking on your phone when you're driving, you're not setting a very good example that your kids shouldn't be talking on their cell phone when they're driving," Watters said.
EMSA says accidents near schools this time of year go across all ages.
Watters said the roads can get crowded and drivers anxious around schools, so the best idea is to slow down and pay attention.
"My advice for the kids is put that cell phone down and make driving a full time job," Watters said.
Both EMSA and Watters agree that it's a good idea for parents to take a practice drive with their kids on the route to and from school. It's a good chance to point out any construction or potential problems.