Driver’s ed teaches teens to drive safely

When getting a driver’s license for the first time, it is normal for teenagers to be excited, nervous or any emotion in between. In the midst of all those feelings, it is important to remember to drive safely.

At Tupelo High School, driver’s education classes teach students to drive safely.

“Make sure you and all passengers have their seat belts on,” driver’s ed instructor Lamar Aldridge said. “Watch your speed on tempting roads like Graham, the Northern Loop, Thomas and West Jackson. Make sure that your phone is on DriveMode.”

DriveMode is an app created by AT&T that silences phone calls, texts and any other alerts that drivers receive once the vehicle is moving at speeds faster than 15 miles per hour. There are also settings where a teen driver’s parents receive a text message as soon as the app is turned off.

Aldridge said his main concern for teen drivers is distracted driving, especially texting.

“You’re so used to doing it,” he said. “It can wait.”

According to, texting and driving is very dangerous. No one should so much as think about texting while behind the wheel. An accident can happen in the blink of an eye, and doing it does not make someone cool. It just puts that person at a higher risk of getting involved in a car accident, much worse a lethal one. To highlight the dangers of texting while driving, the website is promoting National Teen Driver Safety Week from Oct. 18-24.

On July 1, 2015, a texting while driving ban was signed into law for the state of Mississippi.

“I think it was needed,” Aldridge said. “I think it’s something that you have to avoid and not do it. It’s very dangerous. It’s a big problem because everybody texts.”

Teenagers break several laws when driving on their own. Their inexperience can cause major accidents, and several thousands of dollars in damage. When Aldridge was asked about the laws that teens break the most, his response was not surprising.

“Speeding and tailgating,” Aldridge said. “Try to cut down on the number of driving errors. You don’t want to have an accident if you can prevent it. Leave early. If you leave late, you’ll be tempted to speed.”

According to, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2011, about 2,650 teens in the United States aged 16–19 were killed and almost 292,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes. That means that seven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.”

Info Box:

-Drivers between ages 16 to 19 years old are four times as likely to be involved in a crash as other drivers.

-Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens in the U.S.

-The fatality rate for drivers age 16 to 19 is four times that of drivers age 25 to 69 years

-The crash fatality rate (crash fatalities/100,000 population) is highest for 16- to 17-year-olds within the first six months after getting their license — and remains high through age 24

-The top three predictors for fatality are non-use of seat belts, teen drivers and roads with speed limits of 45 mph or higher

-Approximately two-thirds of teen passenger deaths (ages 13 to 19) occur when other teenagers are driving.