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Parents: Remind students of back-to-school driving basics

Parents across Illinois have been helping their kids get ready to go back to school. People have been out shopping for new clothes and school supplies, adjusting work schedules to make room for extracurricular activities and helping kids prepare to get back to a more structured daily routine.

However, there is another way to prepare kids to go back to school that could ultimately save lives. Many teen students will be driving to school for the first time this fall and this means that going over safe driving behaviors can be crucial.

Young drivers can be especially vulnerable on the road. They are inexperienced, easily distracted and may take more risks behind the wheel than other drivers. In order to keep your child and other people on the road safe, parents will want to be sure kids are prepared.

To begin with, drivers and passengers should all be sure to buckle up. Unfortunately, many teens fail to do this. In fact, we have discussed this very issue in an article on our website titled, "Illinois teens not buckling up, putting their lives at risk." In that article, we noted that teen drivers are less likely to use a seat belt when compared to other drivers.

Teens should also be reminded of the dangers of distracted driving. They should understand that driving with other people in the car, eating, grooming and using their cellphones while driving can be extremely distracting and could lead to a serious and potentially fatal car accident.

Finally, new drivers should be clear on the laws. There are specific requirements in place for different levels of the state graduated licensing program with which they -- and their parents -- must comply. Failure to do so could lead to serious penalties.

Young drivers are typically very excited to have the independence that comes with driving. However, they need to appreciate the fact that it is a responsibility. Should they fail to take this responsibility seriously, they could put themselves and others in danger.

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