This week began being observed as a response to the overwhelming number of teens that perished as a result of car accidents nationally in 2007 -- 5,000 teens. In just one year, 5,000 families and communities were devastated because they lost a young and loved member.

While inexperience certainly plays its part in accidents involving teenagers, the largest culprit is distracted driving. It takes a while for teens to understand that driving is not secondary to chatting with passengers, sending text messages, changing the radio or anything else. Further, teens too frequently use excessive speeds and get behind the wheel when they are impaired. Together, those things are a deadly combination.

This week is a reminder for teens to use discretion while they are behind the wheel and focus on their surroundings. Additionally, teens are reminded to wear their seatbelt because in the event that they are in an accident, wearing a seatbelt has a huge impact in preserving life and lessening the severity of resulting injuries.

Source: CBS 42, "Teen driving fatalities continue to decrease," Oct. 11, 2012