If you have kids, you’ll likely have to face the terrifying prospect of having teen drivers one day. It’s never easy, but kids grow up—and inevitably, they start driving. Learning to drive—as frightening as it is for the parents involved—is a right of teen passage that is a natural step on the path toward increased maturity and independence. As your children approach the driving age, talk to them about driver safety and how they can help themselves stay safer on our highways and byways.
Teen Driving Statistics
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you take a calculated risk. As every parent knows, driving is dangerous. This is even truer for teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. This is a dire statistic indeed, but there are strategies you can implement to help your teen become a safer driver.
If your teenager has been injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you know exactly how devastating that is. While you attend to the important task of supporting your child and his or her recovery process, allow a dedicated car accident attorney to aggressively advocate for the compensation to which your teen is entitled. The legal team of personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law, PC, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, can help. We are committed to helping guide your teenager’s claim toward its best possible resolution.
Buckle up Every Single Time
The single most important safety wisdom you can impart to your teenage drivers is to use their safety belts every single time they drive or ride in a vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shares that, of the teens who died in car accidents in 2014, about 53 percent were not wearing their seatbelts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that seatbelts reduce car-crash fatalities by nearly half. Make sure that your teenagers understand that wearing a seat belt is both required by law and will also help to save lives. Further, always make seatbelts part of your own driving routine; it’s not only the safe thing to do, but it’s also a great way to model appropriate safety strategies for your children.
Don’t Drink and Drive—Not Ever
We all know that drinking and driving are not only illegal but also extremely dangerous and irresponsible. This is never truer than for teenage drivers—who usually haven’t even reached the legal drinking age in the first place. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that those drivers who are under the legal drinking age cause a disproportionately high percentage of alcohol-related fatalities on our roads. Georgia takes a hardline when it comes to underage drinking and driving and employs a much lower BAC standard of 0.02 percent for underage drivers. Again, always model safe driving practices for your children, and make it a strict policy never to drive if you’ve been drinking.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares that while all drivers face risk factors, inexperience is most closely associated with serious car accidents and traffic fatalities. While teenagers have the highest accident rates, even those drivers who are in their twenties have higher accident rates than more experienced drivers have. NIH shares a variety of risk factors that are most closely associated with teen drivers:
- Being an inexperienced driver
- Driving while distracted—especially by smartphone usage
- Carrying teenage passengers
- Engaging in risky driving behaviors, including speeding, driving aggressively, following too closely, and other dicey practices
- Driving at night
- Drinking and driving—in the late teen years, this practice increases dramatically
- Succumbing to peer pressure—teens whose friends engage in risky driving practices are more prone to do the same
Further, boys—especially when they have male passengers—are involved in more car accidents than are girls, but accidents involving teenage girl drivers is on the rise. When teen drivers have adult passengers, conversely, they’re far less likely to be involved in car accidents.
Safe Kids Worldwide shares several additional safety techniques you can use to help keep your teenage drivers safe out there:
- Set a limit on the number of passengers allowed in the car.
- Encourage your teenager to always adhere to the speed limit.
- Encourage your teenager to speak up if a driver is engaging in unsafe driving practices.
- Make sure that your teenager gets plenty of supervised driving practice under a variety of situations.
- Don’t allow your teenager to drive unsupervised in the dark until he or she has become a more experienced driver.
- Ensure that your teenager understands your values as they relate to safe driving, including buckling up every time, never drinking and driving, carefully adhering to the rules of the road, and driving distraction free (put down that smartphone).
Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, and it’s important to take a closer look. NHTSA shares that car accidents related to distraction include any crash in which the driver is identified as being distracted at the time of the accident. Further, NHTSA relays that, of 15- to 19-year-old drivers who are involved in traffic fatalities, nine percent were reported as being distracted at the time of the accident. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. As a parent, you can help drive this message home by frequently discussing the issue with your teenagers and by modeling distraction-free driving yourself.
If Your Teenager’s Been Injured in a Car Accident, Contact Brauns Law, PC, in Gwinnett County Today
Every car accident is upsetting, but if your teenager has been injured, it’s that much more traumatic. If another driver’s negligence has left your teenager injured, you need skilled legal counsel. The legal team at Brauns Law, PC, in Gwinnett County, Georgia can help. We have the skill, experience, and compassion to fight for your child’s rights and rightful compensation. Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys are here to help, so please contact or call us at (404) 418-8244 for a free consultation today.