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Being a child of the 80s, when I think of teens and driving, I picture an episode of "Who's The Boss?" (ay-oh, oh-ay!) in which worried father Tony covered his daughter's first car (a yellow beast of a thing) in giant red reflectors.

At the time, I cringed with embarrassment at the thought of my parents following suit (and what teen-ager wouldn't?), but now I understand Tony's anxiety. After all, parents have a right to freak out at the prospect of a child getting behind the wheel, don't they?

Well, apparently parents in 2002 have either really mellowed out or are just plain naïve. According to a study by Autobytel, nearly half of the parents who responded expressed confidence in their own children's driving habits, and only four percent of those surveyed cited drinking and driving as their top teen driving worry.

Now for the wake-up call: Drinking and driving is the number one killer of young people, and 43 percent of teens who participated in a recent clinical study said they'd either driven while intoxicated or ridden in a car with a driver who'd been drinking or using drugs, Autobytel says.

This may sound cliché or like a bad 80s-sitcom plot, but make sure to talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking, especially the ramifications of driving while intoxicated. Another thing to take into consideration is the safety of the vehicle your teen drives. Click here for more information on this subject from Autobytel.

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