Sadly, car crashes are the leading cause of adolescent deaths across the United States. Worse, the rate of teenage motor fatalities is on the rise. But we make bad teen drivers drive more responsibly and protect their lives as well as our own. How? Here are some useful tips that will help parents keep kids safer behind the wheel.
How you drive sets an example for your impressionable teenagers. Show them how to stay safe on the road by always driving responsibly, wearing a seat belt, and observing road traffic laws. And of course, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
One in three teenagers admits to texting while driving. This is a frightening statistic because distractions of any kind take a driver’s attention away from the road and reduces his ability to operate the vehicle safely. And we know the real number is much higher.
Ensure that teenagers know there are consequences to distractions on the road. Install applications on their phones that will prevent texting while driving. Enforce punishments, such as cell phone bans, if (and when) your child flouts the rules. Most importantly, teenagers must understand that whatever text they want to send, or whatever call they want to make, it can wait until the end of the ride.
Anyone under 21 is legally required to have a blood-alcohol concentration of zero. OK, this is easier said than done, but teenagers shouldn’t be drinking or smoking pot, let alone driving under the influence. Make sure your teen driver understands the dangers of drinking and driving and the consequences if they break the law. Driving is a huge responsibility and it is critical that teenagers know the risks involved.
A recent survey suggests that teenagers are at least eight times more likely to have a road traffic accident in the first three months of getting their license than in the last three months of their learner’s permit.
How do we tackle this? Driving independently is a completely different experience from driving with a qualified adult in the passenger seat. Support teenage drivers by going out on the road with them and offering them tips and encouragement. After all, passing a driver’s test is only the first step. Good drivers are built from experience that will take them years to get.
Newer vehicles come equipped with the latest safety features and these features play a crucial role in accident prevention and damage control should a collision occur. Although it’s tempting to buy a teenager a cheaper model in case they do cause a car accident, the value of modern safety features can’t be underestimated.
OK, here’s another one of those “good luck with that” suggestions. But tired drivers are distracted drivers. In fact, it’s almost as dangerous as driving drunk. Teenagers spend so much time studying, seeing friends, and obsessing over social media and video games that they often aren’t getting enough rest. Don’t let teenagers drive if you’re concerned that they’re too tired to drive.
There are laws and programs that restrict when and how they can drive. Texas has a Graduated Driver License Program administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety. It allows a teen to get his learner’s permit when he turns 15 and he must hold if for six months or longer. He must complete an approved driver’s education class during that time. He is able to drive with an adult who is at least 21 years old with this permit.
After meeting these requirements, when he turns 16 a teenager can apply for a provisional driver’s license that will be in effect until he reaches 18. During these two years, he is restricted in these ways:
At Berenson Injury Law, we have represented many people who have been in crashes caused by teenage drivers over the past 38 years. We see laws governing their driving violated and take action against them and their parents on behalf of our injured clients when this happens. For example, we finalized a serious injury case recently where a 17-year-old male was “ghosting” (driving while his body was half-way outside of the car). We are committed to improving the safety of our roads and reducing the number of car and truck wrecks.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Fort Worth, Dallas or anywhere in the North Texas area, call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here. We can provide comprehensive legal services to get you the compensation you deserve.