Parents should take their teens out driving, but need to follow the rules of the road – and common sense. Judy Hudson, general manager of Four Lakes Driving School in Madison, says that's the intent of the state's graduated drivers license. "They want you to drive with your parents," says Hudson. "The best thing to do is have your kids drive, when they have permits. Wherever you go, they should be doing the driving, locally. I'm not saying across the country, I'm saying locally."
Sara O'Connell, a 15 year old student at Four Lakes, was driving with her learner's permit and crashed the family van in Iowa. Her parents were killed, Sara and her siblings were injured. "Our students' hearts are broken here, and so are ours," says Hudson of the tragedy. "We know her, we knew her mother and father."
Sara was the only one wearing a seat belt. Hudson says parents need to be role models and set examples for young drivers. Sunday's accident about 130 miles south of Madison occurred early in a planned family cross country vacation trip. "Sometimes I think parents try to push them (teen drivers) quickly into this driving," says Hudson. As for driving extended distances on highways, Hudson doesn't believe that's something most young drivers are ready for.
According to the Iowa State Patrol, Sara O'Connell overcompensated after driving onto the shoulder of U.S. Highway 61, losing control of the family's vehicle, which then rolled over several times.