The week of October 18-24th is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and in recognition of this, our lawyers would like to urge all parents and guardians of teen drivers to take some time to sit down and discuss safe driving habits.
Young drivers between the ages of fifteen and twenty years old are killed by traffic accidents more than any other cause. In fact, trip-for-trip, drivers under the age of twenty are involved in three times as many fatal accidents as all other drivers combined. Yet, a recent survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that only 25% of parents nationwide reported having a serious talk with their kids about safe driving. For this reason, the NHTSA has introduced the “5 to Drive” campaign, which outlines 5 of the most important topics to discuss with new drivers:
Increasing seat belt use-This is a problem for the larger driving community, not just for teens. When a vehicle is stopped abruptly in a collision, a person’s momentum throws them in the direction they were initially headed. Some of the most severe injuries that occur behind the wheel come as a result of the driver or passenger being violently thrown against the interior of their car. Psychologically speaking, teens are more likely to engage in risky activities in general, and this may make teens more likely to drive without a seat belt as well.
No Alcohol-Despite the fact that the legal drinking age in every state is 21, 29% of all driver fatalities for 15-20-year-olds involves alcohol. Drinking and driving is a problem that is not unique to the under twenty demographic, but the mixture of inexperienced drinking and inexperienced driving can be especially deadly. It is important to urge your teen not to drink; make sure that your child knows that driving while intoxicated is extremely dangerous, and be clear in stating that if they are ever put in a situation where they need to be picked up, you would rather have them call you than risk the safety of themselves and everyone else on the road.
No Cell Phone Use or Texting While Driving-Texting or generally using technology while driving may seem like no big deal, but make no mistake – it’s deadly. Among drivers 15-19-years-old involved in fatal car accidents, 11% were distracted by a device or activity at the time of the crash; we also know that distracted driving accidents are routinely attributed to other factors, so it is quite possible that these numbers underestimate the hazards of technology use behind the wheel.
No Driving or Riding Without a Seat Belt-More than half (55%) or all drivers and occupants killed in automobile accidents are unrestrained. This is a problem for the larger driving community, not just for teens. When a vehicle is stopped abruptly in a collision, a person’s momentum throws them in the direction they were initially headed. Some of the most severe injuries that occur behind the wheel come as a result of the driver or passenger being violently thrown against the interior of their car. Psychologically speaking, teens are more likely to engage in risky activities in general, and this may make teens more likely to drive without a seat belt as well.
No Speeding-42% of all car accident victims between the ages of 15 and 20-years-old were speeding (or were in a motor vehicle that was speeding) at the time of the accident. The faster your vehicle is traveling, the less time you have to react to unexpected hazards, and for an inexperienced driver this can be deadly.
No Extra Passengers-Statistics show that teen drivers are 2.5-3 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one or more other teenage passengers.
It is important to remember that as a parent, you shouldn’t wait until your child enters drivers training to teach them responsible driving. When you drive your child, even at a young age, you should always model the driving that you would be comfortable with them emulating. This is especially important to communicate the dangers of distracted and aggressive driving.
Our lawyers work with injured clients everyday, and as a result we know the value of programs like this. By practicing safe driving, you can drastically reduce your risk for serious injury, but if you ever find yourself in an auto accident, know that we may be able to help you.