Getting behind the wheel when you are a teenager can be intimidating but also exciting. However, an unfortunate reality is that when young and inexperienced drivers take to the road, they can fail to appreciate their responsibility to drive safely and be involved in collisions. The good news is that there are measures which can help prevent teen driving accidents.
Teen Driving Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2016, 2,433 United States teens between the ages of 16–19 were killed, and 292,742 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. According to these statistics, every day six teens in this age group died, and hundreds more were injured.
The 2016 CDC study found that as a group teens were less likely to assess dangerous driving situations and road conditions accurately. This population also speeds more, gives less space between their vehicle and the one in front of them, and is more likely than older drivers to make critical errors which lead to serious collisions. Teens also use seat belts less often and are more often under the influence of alcohol while driving or riding with a driver who has been drinking.
Wear a Seatbelt
· The CDC found that "of the teens (aged 16-19) who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2016, at least 48% were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.” However, research shows that wearing a seat belt reduces crash-related severe injuries and deaths by approximately half. While wearing a seatbelt may not prevent a teen car crash, they can help improve their chances of surviving one.
Do Not Drink and Drive or Ride with a Drunk Driver
· While being young can mean being exposed to underage drinking and peer pressure, you cannot overemphasize the dangers of drunk driving enough to teenagers. If you are concerned about your child being out and possibly drinking or riding with a drunk driver sit them down and have an honest discussion about the risks and come up with ways in which they can get home safely.
Limit Driving at Certain Times
· One way to help teen drivers avoid collisions is by keeping them off the road during the peak accident times. Statistics show that most teen driving accidents occur between midnight and 3 am. Further, rush hour and holiday travel days are also times which can mean in more collisions. Keeping newer drivers off the road during the days and times when they are more likely to be involved in an accident is a good way to reduce their chances of being involved in a collision.
Follow Graduated Driver Licensing Laws
· Florida, like most other states, has graduated driver licensing laws (GDL) in place which are designed to allow inexperienced young drivers to learn driving skills under lower-risk conditions. Florida's GDL laws are designed to help younger drivers to gradually and safely build their driving skills and experience. These laws restrict these drivers based on their age and limits the times of day they can be on the road. When parents know and follow GDL laws, they will be giving their teens room to learn and grow into the responsibilities which come with operating a motor vehicle.
As with many areas of life, with great power comes great responsibility. As a parent, you have some control over teaching your young driver to follow rules which will keep them and others safe on the road. By giving teens time to learn how to be better drivers and emphasizing the importance of taking safety precautions you can help them avoid accidents.
Hopefully, your teen while not be involved in a collision. However, some accidents cannot be avoided even when you are doing all that you can to drive cautiously. If you or someone in your family has been involved in a car accident, the experienced attorneys at the Draper Firm can help. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.