TODAY   |  September 28, 2013

Driven to distraction? Some teen drivers don’t follow restrictions

States have restrictions on when kids can drive and who can be in the car with them. The trouble is, a lot of young people are not following the driver's license restrictions, and  consequences can be deadly. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> there might not be anything more nerve wracking enlet your teenager drive a family car . a lot of states have the graduated dliver's license programs that add restrictions for your young driver. but is your teen following those rules? tom costello is here with more.

>> reporter: the restrictions have on the kids. a lot of kids are not following these graduated driver's license restrictions and the consequences can be deadly. a teenager died in this accident. a 15-year-old boy in the back seat with a group of teens leaving a church event, no drinking, no drugs, just a teen driver with a provisional license who wasn't supposed to have other kids in the car.

>> dispatcher three.

>> reporter: the kind of accident captain police tomas diedon has seen time and time again.

>> our teens are the most dangerous drivers on the roadway because they just don't have the skill set or the maturity and the experience to do things.

>> reporter: even good kids make deadly decisions . danica had only been driving a year when she lost control while speeding and horsing around. in her box of teenager memories, the photo of 16-year-old donovan, her boyfriend who died that night.

>> when they took me away in the ambulance before the door shut, donovan's mom came on to the scene and i could just hear her crying for her son.

>> reporter: every state now tries to ease teens into driving through graduated licenses.

>> crashes are the number one cause of death for teens and their first year of driving is by far the most dangerous.

>> reporter: a new state farm survey finds only 43% of teenage drivers following the laws and 48% follow nighttime restrictions but 63% stay off their phones while driving and 72% don't text. every day, dahnica wishes she could take back one terrible night.

>> to cause that much pain for a parent, that is the hardest.

>> reporter: as for that 15-year-old boy who died in a back seat? his father was a maryland police captain who responded to the accident scene.

>> i was there the day my son was born and i was there the day that we had to take him off life support and i would never wish that on another person.

>> reporter: here is what is important. that state farm survey shows there is a big disconnect. while parents think their kids are following the law, 70% of the time, in fact, as you saw, it's often far less than that. all the more reason, they say, that we all have to insist our kids do follow the laws. guys, back to you.