Tragedy Sparks Discussion About Teen Driving

Friday's deadly crash along Highway 52 in Marathon County is sparking conversation between parents and their young drivers about safety on the roadways.

Seventeen year old Pa Nhia Yang is learning to drive.

"I was really nervous and I was a little shaky," Yang said describing her first time behind the wheel.

Thursday Yang had her third behind-the-wheel lesson with long-time instructor Cecil Wold.

"The more urban our society gets and the more complex the driving situation is getting, you need the practice," Wold explained.

That's why he wants the state to create more restrictions for new drivers.

"They're not really going far enough, as far as I'm concerned, but that's the law."

Right now, the state requires 30 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction for new drivers. But Wold like to see that requirement more than tripled to 100 hours. He says the key to safety is experience, which beginning drivers don't have.

"They go too fast and the other thing is they don't understand the consequences of their actions."

Statistics show a beginner driver is 40 to 45 percent more likely to have an accident with another person in the car. That rate practically doubles to 82 percent with two people and jumps to an alarming 180 percent with more than three people.

After a few lessons, Yang is feeling better behind the wheel.

"I feel a little more confident, but I know I still need more, more practice, experience so I get better at it," she told NewsChannel 7.

It's practice, that comes with lessons, given by instructors and parents.

"Kids have a tendency to emulate their parents and they drive just like their parents," Wold explained. "If the parent does something they think they can do it, but without the experience."

Yang will take her road test sometime this fall. She say thanks to Wold's help she thinks she should be ready.


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