Driver's ed training now focuses on avoiding digital distractions

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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) — Most of us remember how happy we were getting that driver's license when we turned 16.

16-year-old Blaise Wood just a couple of lessons away from getting his driver's license

But the challenges of learning how to drive have changed a bit for teens.

16-year-old Blaise Wood only has a couple more lessons until he's ready for his driving test.

"When I first started, I was a nervous wreck. I really was. But I think now, with Mr. Saker, I feel like I've improved a lot with his help," said Wood.

Wood is taking lessons with Saker's Driving School. Gabe Saker has been teaching teenagers how to drive for over 30 years.

"I worry more about technology with kids now. Used to worry about drunk driving a lot. I still do, but not as much as technology. Driving under the influence of devices now is what's getting a lot of kids in wrecks," said Saker.

Wood says he knows better than to do that, and is excited about driving to school when he starts his junior year.

But he admits he's had had a few bumps in the road while learning.

"A few close calls. Yes. I feel like I've definitely learned from them, and I've made sure to be more careful with them," said Wood.

Saker says all teen drivers need to be aware that despite their lessons, they're still new and inexperienced behind the wheel, and they need to take it slow.

"I always tell them, treat it like swimming when you first start beginning. You stay in shallow water. You don't jump off the cliffs at the lake. You do real comfortable things at first."

Saker says, along with following all of the legal guidelines, if a teen doesn't feel like they're emotionally or mentally ready to drive, they should wait.