Helping Your Teen Driver Stay Safe

Mother and son in carYoung drivers have always been more at risk of serious injury or death than their older, more experienced counterparts. However, with the introduction of hand-held devices, the added element of distraction has increased this risk more than any other factor. Distracted driving is more responsible for auto accidents than drunk driving. In fact, 10 percent of all fatal accidents involve a distracted driver, and young people under 20 account for the highest proportion of that group.

Even without taking distracted driving into consideration, teens have a significantly higher risk of serious death or injury when they first begin driving. The following statistics paint a clearer picture of the severity of this risk:

  • Automobile crashes are the number one cause of death for U.S. teens
  • The risk of fatality for drivers between 16 and 19 years of age is four times that of older drivers
  • The fatality rate in crashes is highest for 16 and 17 year old drivers within six months of obtaining their license
  • Teens are nearly 10 times more likely to be involved in a crash during their first year of driving

While the above statistics may be frightening, the risk of serious injury and death can be drastically minimized with proper education and safe driving practices. Parental influence plays a major role in teen driving habits. In fact, 66 percent of teens say they care about the advice and opinions of their parents when it comes to driving. Considering that parents are also typically the main role models for kids learning to drive, the parental influence is of great importance. By educating your children on what to do and what not to do when driving, you can help reduce their risk of being injured or killed in a crash.

Tips for Teen Drivers

Don’t be distracted. Tell kids that they should not have any physical contact with cell phones or hand-held devices while driving. If they receive or need to send a text, find a safe spot and pull off the road. Reiterate to your children that they do not have the instincts and experience necessary to anticipate emergency situations, therefore, being distracted is of exceptional danger.

Don’t speed. Educate your children on the dangers of excessive speed. Speed greatly increases the chances of a crash, yet nearly 50 percent of teens say they have been encouraged to speed by teen passengers.

Always wear a seat belt. Of all drivers, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use. In fatal car crashes involving drivers under the age of 20, six out of 10 were not wearing a seat belt.

Drive alone or with only one teen passenger, when possible. The likelihood of crashes skyrockets with multiple teen passengers. Teens tend to be more responsible when driving alone. Although some studies suggest driving alone is safer than driving with one teen passenger, conflicting studies say that having a passenger reduces the incidence of driver cell phone use.

Kevin J. Roach – Missouri Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

If your teen driver has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, the law offices of Kevin J. Roach can work with you and your teen to recover from the accident. Similarly, if you have been injured in an accident involving a teen driver, we can help. You may be entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you or your child has been involved in any type of auto accident, contact the law offices of Kevin J. Roach today.