Nightly News | February 18, 2012
>>> now, to some startling new numbers for parents concerned about the kids getting behind the wheel . the road accidents which have been the leading cause of death for the teens are on the rise again after eight years of decline. what's behind the increase? we get the story from mike taibbi .
>> reporter: the twin daughters are taking a driving lesson.
>> to keep them safe. it's really important. sorry.
>> reporter: mom knows and wants emily and grace to know about the lethal dangers of distracted driving. cell phone calling and texting, music and conversations in the car full of kids. reaching for anything behind the wheel .
>> it's frightening.
>> reporter: frightening too is for the first time in eight year, teen road deaths are up. 11% in the first six months of 2011 , according to the governor's highway safety administration.
>> it's a wake-up call, because in past few years, teen deaths have been declining.
>> reporter: in fact, they plummeted from 6,100 in 2002 to 2,800 in 2009 . largely due to education programs like this one sponsored by the aaa. a caugdad saving a daughter from an accident. and there's restrictions on night driving and number of passengers, for example, prior to full licensing. in addition, the growing number of technologies that lead to distracted driving are coming up with more ways to combat it. cell phones for example that can't be used for texting or calling while the car is moving. but the effect of all the strategies may now have levelled off. and with the economy improving more teens are looking to roll. so it comes back to education.
>> the more the parents are involved in supporting the child, the greater the chance of success.
>> reporter: a teen in the first month of driving without supervision is 50% more likely to crash than someone with a year behind the wheel .
>> i know the first time i watch them drive down the road by themselves my heart will be out of my chest.
>> reporter: old-style driver ed . mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .