To put it simply, driving a car is a huge responsibility, and it is most likely the most dangerous thing that you will do on a day-to-day basis. Every year about 6 million motor vehicle accidents occur in the United States, and statistics have shown that these crashes will injure some three million drivers and passengers annually, with two thirds of these injuries being permanent. For teen drivers, inexperience, distraction, and a host of other risk factors make getting behind the wheel even more hazardous, with car crashes being the leading cause of death for individuals 14-18 years of age. However, there are several ways that we can all work to help make teens safer and more responsible drivers.
What Parents Can Do-Before your children ever enter driver’s training courses, parents can play an incredibly important role in their safety. First and foremost, be a role model, and allow your kids to witness first hand what good driving is. Once a teen does begin driving, set specific ground rules and restrictions, and hold them accountable if these guidelines are violated. Most importantly, maintain an open and up front dialogue with your kids explaining your rationale for imposing these limits, and discuss the hazards that come with risk factors like distracted and drunk driving. This will allow your child to gain an understanding of these issues on their own terms, making them more likely to make safe driving decisions in their future.
What Teens and Inexperienced Drivers Can Do-It is important to always remember that driving is a privilege and a responsibility, not a right; at 45 miles per hour, a car or SUV can easily cause serious injuries or fatalities. Never use a smart phone or electronic device while operating a vehicle, and mind distractions that may be caused by passengers. Last but not least, know the restrictions that are placed on your license at your respective experience level; these limitations are in place to keep you safe while developing your skills as a driver.
What Law Enforcement Officials and Communities Can Do-Naturally, maintaining and enforcing federal and state regulations for teen drivers is a crucial aspect of keeping everyone safe on our nation’s roads and highways. However, there are many other things your community can do that are more proactive. One way of attacking the problem might be to work with safety organizations and other coalitions to educate your community about the responsibilities that come with driving, and the consequences that come with negligence. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
At Levin & Perconti, our lawyers have successfully handled many different cases involving injuries to minors and children. Generally, any individual under the age of 18 cannot file a lawsuit without being aided by a parent or guardian, so if your teen has been injured in a serious automobile accident, it is up to you to help them explore their legal options. Our attorneys are always available to discuss the legal options of a potential client, so if you have any questions or concerns, we would love to hear from you.