Fatal accident serves as reminder for teenage drivers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fatal accident serves as reminder for teenage drivers

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  A horrific crash in northwest Oregon killed four teenagers who were just a month away from starting college.  AAA says this serves as a good reminder of how dangerous teens behind the wheel can be.

AAA data shows that in Washington, licensed drivers between 16- and 19-years-old make up 5% of the people on the road.  However, they are responsible for 11% of all crashes.

On Monday, a 17-year-old girl was driving with four other teens to vacation on the Oregon coast.  All five had just graduated high school and were taking one last trip together before college. 4 of the 5 died after the driver lost control.

AAA staff says summer is the most deadly time for young drivers to crash.  They're out of school and out on the road more.  Also, they're less experienced and easily distracted.  Cassie Devaney with AAA says, "They have this false sense that nothing bad will happen to them, so they really need to be aware of the distractions that's caused by having any other passengers in the car or even simple acts such as changing the radio station."  Talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting are also huge distractions for teens, not to mention illegal in Washington.

Devaney recommends sitting down with your child to talk about the dangers and precautions, and to set up a schedule to get them more driving experience.