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There's nothing to me that says summer more than the Great American Road Trip. From buying gloriously nutrition- free snacks at middle-of-nowhere convenience stores, to looking for state license plates, I love it all.

But for teen drivers, summer is a season of peril. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving calls the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day the year’s “100 Deadliest Days.” The 2010 Washington Healthy Youth Survey found 12 percent of high school seniors reported drinking and driving, while nearly a quarter of 10th and 12th graders reported riding with someone who had been drinking. Washington is ranked 44th out of 51 states (and D.C.) for drunk driving fatalities. We can do better.

I don’t have a teen driver yet, which I am sure is part of the reason I still have hair that retains at least some of its natural pigment. But for those of you who do, the American Automobile Association offers some recommendations on how keep your kids, and others, safe and sound on the road. Obviously, no texting or cell phone use while driving, but also, teens shouldn’t just spend time driving around with no purpose in mind. Night-time driving is especially risky — the chances of being involved in a deadly crash double.

Make sure your teen knows you’re “on-call” — when and wherever they need help or a safe ride home. Mothers Against Drunk Driving also offers a new “Power of Parents” handbook and website that offers research-based ways to reduce underage drinking, one of the biggest causes of teen driving fatalities.

To Your Health!

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