DES MOINES, Iowa – This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, a time to raise awareness around issues unique to young drivers.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, in 2020 more than 2,200 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver nationwide. Nearly 750 of those deaths were the teenage driver. Teens are less experienced behind the wheel and can be more vulnerable to distractions while driving.

“It’s important that we emphasize the safety issues because they are more vulnerable to being distracted with texting and driving. They live in their phones for the most part nowadays. It’s hard sometimes to put it down or to maybe wrap your brain around just how important it is to keep your eyes on the road. Because just a second can change everything,” said Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

Sgt. Parizek says it’s important to have conversations with your kids about driving safely and reminding them of the consequences of being distracted in the driver’s seat.

The DPS also pointed out that the likelihood a teen driver engages in risky behaviors, like speeding or distracted driving, more than triples when there are multiple passengers in the vehicle.

If you have a new driver in your household you think could use some extra instruction, the Ankeny Police Department is putting on a free Road Rules class. It’s being held on Nov. 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. APD says the class is open to students and their parents, but seating is limited. You can register here.