Keeping Teen Drivers Safe
The tragic death of a Jennings teen in a single vehicle crash in July 2021 is another reminder of how frightening it is for many parents to watch a teen head out the door with car keys in hand. For parents the worry never ends. Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to do everything possible to prepare our teenagers for a safe driving career.
The Facts About Teen Drivers
Teens die in motor vehicle crashes at an alarming rate. In 2019 alone, nearly 2,400 teens across the country lost their lives in these incidents, and nearly 260,000 more went to emergency rooms. Put that in perspective: seven teens died and hundreds were injured every single day in crashes.
- The death rate for male teens is double that of female teens due to motor vehicle accidents;
- Teens with fellow teens are a bad match in the car: the risk of crashes goes up with each additional passenger aged 13-19;
- More accidents occur right after licensure: The rate of crashes per miles driven for 16-year olds is roughly 150 percent higher than for 19-year olds.
What Parents Can Do
The problem is a serious one that needs serious focus from parents. Taking the time to address safety today could avert a disaster tomorrow:
- Give your teen plenty of time—30-50 hours at least—to practice with you in the passenger seat;
- Ride along with a focus on suggestions for improvement;
- Spread the practice sessions out so your teen has experience with various traffic patterns, weather conditions, and times of the day;
- Restrict driving times, especially in the beginning, to daylight hours and within an agreed-to radius;
- Allow no more than one peer in the car for the first six months;
- Require seatbelt use (and model it);
- Discuss reducing distractions such as cell phone use, eating, etc.;
- Consider devices or apps that disable phone use while the car is in motion;
- Use a device or app to get driving reports detailing your teen’s driving speeds/use of heavy braking/aggressive driving etc.;
- Make sure your child understands the dangers of substance use and driving;
- Discuss, monitor, and update driving expectations.
Take Care of the Car
A car in good condition is less likely to have mechanical failures on the road. So make sure the tires are in shape and are properly balanced, windshield wipers are working well, fluids are filled, and the car is otherwise maintained.
Following an Accident
There is no foolproof way to prepare a teen for the road, and best efforts are often not enough to keep your teen driver accident-free. If another driver’s recklessness or negligence caused the accident, you may be entitled to compensation to address serious injury or death. To discuss the possibilities, contact the experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. in our office today.