Helping our Teens Be Safe Drivers

As parents, helping our teens become safe drivers starts long before they get behind the wheel. It starts by setting an example when they are still in the back seat. Showing them the importance of always wearing a seat belt, never texting and driving, keeping within a safe speed limit, never tailgating or cutting other cars off in traffic, and never drinking and driving.

New teenage drivers were eight times more likely to have a car crash or close call within the first three months of driving, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. They were also more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, like sudden braking, rapid acceleration and hard turns. We did a recent blog on teen passengers posing the biggest threat to teen drivers, which oftentimes encourages these types of dangerous driving behaviors.

Graduated driver licensing policies, now nationwide for new drivers under 18, can help to reduce crash rates by requiring a specific number of hours of adult-supervised driving, restrictions on driving at night and with peers in the car, and phasing in exposure to more demanding driving conditions.

As parents and guardians, it is our job to ensure that our young drivers are trained in how to react in various traffic safety situations. There are ways to prevent teen motor vehicle accidents and injuries. As the teen driver begins to become more comfortable in lower-risk driving situations, it is helpful to slowly move him or her up into more complex situations, such as driving on interstates, driving in adverse weather conditions, or driving at night. These practice drives should, of course, be supervised by an adult driver.

As vehicles become more equipped with information and entertainment technology, so does the risk of a distracted driving crash. When it comes to electronic devices, including in-car technology systems and cell phone use there are three kinds of distractions: visual, cognitive and manual. These devices incorporate all three and lead to a higher risk of a fatal car crash. Teenage drivers have the highest rate of distracted driving fatalities, more than any other age group.

Alcohol is another factor resulting in teen driving fatalities. In 2015, 16 percent of teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and 64 percent who were killed in alcohol-involved crashes were not wearing seatbelts.

Inadequate sleep and drowsy driving are also causing more teen driving crashes. When teens do not get enough sleep, there is not only a risk of falling asleep at the wheel, but it results in impaired judgement and lack of attention behind the wheel.

Investigations into teen car crashes reveal that the cause is not necessarily related to the skill of the driver, but the judgement they exercise while behind the wheel. Car accidents remain the leading cause of adolescent injury and death in the U.S. Parents can do their part by creating a teen-driving contract for their teen and themselves to sign, laying out the expectations, responsibilities and risks associated with driving.

As a Miami personal injury lawyer– who has represented both teen drivers and their families who have been seriously hurt by others and the families of those who have been hurt and even killed by teen drivers- I worry. It is estimated that more than 800,000 licensed teen drivers are in the State of Florida, so it is important more than ever to be sure that our teen drivers are properly trained and are safely driving on the roads.

AAA strongly recommends that no more than one non-family passenger under the age of 20 years old be allowed to ride with the teen driver during his or her first six months of having a driver’s license. This rule may come with some pushback from your teen driver, but the safety benefits far outweigh the risks in the end.

FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MIAMI AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.

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