If you are the parent of a teenager, it can be a scary thought to think of them driving on their own out on the open roadways and highways. Rightfully so, considering auto collisions are the second leading cause of death in the United States for teens.
Fortunately, though, teen crashes are preventable and there are plenty of things that you can do now to help prepare your child to drive safely and avoid accidents once they are off and driving on their own. Below is a list of tips for parents of teen drivers.
Parents should discuss the leading causes of motor vehicle wrecks and the resulting injuries with their children. The eight danger zones identified by the Centers for Disease Control are:
The CDC cites proven methods to teach teens to be safer drivers. Their research demonstrates that parents can take action to keep their kids safe from these risks. First and foremost, CDC states that seatbelts save lives. Almost 50 percent of teens who died in passenger crashes in 2018 were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
States themselves vary in the enforcement of seatbelt laws. Some states allow officers to cite a driver or passenger with a failure to wear a seatbelt even if it is the only violation, this is known as a primary enforcement law. States with secondary enforcement seatbelt laws only allow officers to ticket drivers or passengers for not wearing a seatbelt if they pulled the driver over for some other reason. Some states have secondary enforcement seatbelt laws for adults but uphold primary enforcement seatbelt laws for young drivers. Seatbelt use among all age groups is higher in states with primary enforcement seatbelt laws than in states with secondary laws.
Parents should talk to their kids about wearing their seatbelt every time they get behind the wheel, and every time they get in the car with anyone regardless of the driver’s age. Seatbelts save lives, and teens need to understand that wearing their seatbelt in a wreck may save theirs.
Parents must discuss impaired driving with their teens. No matter what their age, driving while intoxicated is illegal and dangerous—but for teens—driving with any alcohol in their system could result in a drunk driving conviction or serious injury to themselves or others.
Parents need to stress to their children that if they are going to drink that they, under no circumstances, should get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Teach your kids to call you, another parent, a family member, a friend, an Uber or Lyft, or anyone else for a ride; but, not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of any amount of alcohol.
Graduate driver’s licensing systems, like the one in Tennessee, have been found to reduce fatal crashes and catastrophic injuries in automobile cases. Making sure that your teen obtains the necessary experience during the learner’s permit and intermediate licensure processes before they are ultimately issued a full license at the time they turn 18 will help make them a more confident and safer driver.
This means driving with a responsible adult in the vehicle for a sufficient amount of time to learn the rules of the road, to discuss what to do in certain situations such as in heavy traffic or in inclement weather conditions that can cause difficulties with visibility or slippery road conditions. Going through these experiences and analyzing them with your guidance can give your child the understanding that they need to be better drivers and to avoid accidents in later situations once they are driving on their own.
For more information on the best strategies and ways to prepare your teen to drive safely and avoid accidents, reach out to one of the knowledgeable lawyers at our firm. If your teen was injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a careless or reckless driver, call a dedicated car crash attorney to pursue legal action.