It seems that in the last few months there has been an uptick in the number of serious – and even fatal – crashes in Kane County.

A two-car crash in St. Charles on Oct. 11 sent three people to the hospital in serious condition. A 19-year-old Batavia resident was cited for improper lane usage in that crash; police said the driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

In addition, there was an Oct. 6 accident near St. Charles, where 19-year-old Nicholas Hanson of Geneva died. The 19-year-old Geneva driver in that crash was charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI, driving in the wrong lane and driving too fast for conditions.

And a car-versus-motorcycle accident in St. Charles occurred Sept. 2, where Richard Klein, 64, of West Chicago, died after colliding with a Dodge Avenger driven by a 17-year-old who was cited for failure to yield while turning left.

These crashes have something in common – young drivers.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, with eight teenagers dying as a result every day.

Of course, it's not always a teenager who is hurt or dies in a crash where a young driver is involved.

Dmv.org offers tips on how teens can stay safe – and keep others safe – while behind the wheel. These should be obvious, as they’ve been repeated time and time again, but they need to be said at least once more: Keep cellphones off, and don’t text while driving.

Overall, just be responsible when behind the wheel.

The time that drivers have their eyes on a phone, they aren’t looking at the road. In the 4.6 seconds it takes to send an average text, a car can drive the length of a football field, according to dmv.org.

Just being on the phone in the car impairs a driver as much as driving drunk – even a hands-free phone – according to dmv.org.

Parents, speak to your children about safe driving and keeping their eyes on the road. It may just save their lives. Or the lives of others.

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