TEENAGE DRIVER CAR ACCIDENT – PREVENTION
A recent Yahoo Parenting article points out that with all the often-discussed dangers of drugs, drinking, bullying, and crime, people may overlook the fact that the No. 1 cause of death for teens is motor-vehicle crashes. Yes, the reality is that more than 2,600 young adults aged 15 to 19 years old were involved in a fatal car accident in 2013 —and another 130,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Teenage drivers cause auto accidents that are dangerous to themselves as well as others on the road. Our Minnesota lawyers have handled many teenager car crash cases over the last 25 years.
The article notes that in recognition of this week’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, Michelin commissioned a study of more than 1,000 adults about driving and the safety advice they’ve received — and offered — to shed some light on how people learn the best rules of the road. It’s also useful information for parents, in fact, considering that the authority most often cited as a “source of useful driving advice” is “Dad,” according to 52 percent of respondents. (“Mom,” meanwhile, came in second with 32 percent of the vote, and drivers’ education instructors ranked third, with 27 percent). Parents remain the most essential part of the safety mission, Kara Macek, director of communications at the Governors Highway Safety Association, told Yahoo Parenting. And they can start by taking a look at what they do themselves when they get behind the wheel. “Parents have to be good role models and actually be the driver that they want their teen to be,” she says, “because teens are very adept at spotting hypocrisy and will recognize when their mom or dad says one thing and does another.”
Teen drivers’ most dangerous behaviors, according to the NHTSA, include alcohol use (20 percent of the drivers killed in crashes had been drinking); distracted driving (318 people were killed in wrecks that involved a distracted teen driver); speeding (a factor in 42 percent of the aforementioned crashes); and passengers. “Data shows that a teenage driver is 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger, and three times more likely with multiple teenage passengers,” the organization details in a report promoting its “5 to Drive” safety campaign. Thankfully, the fifth trouble area for teens is an easily preventable one: driving or riding without a seat-belt. “The sad truth is that in more than half of the fatalities, teens are unbuckled,” Macek told Yahoo Parenting. “Seat belts really do save lives. Parents need to remind their teens that seat-belts should be used, every seat, every time, no matter how short a distance they’re going. They really need to be a broken record about it because while the first order of business is to avoid a crash, the second order is to survive it, and seat-belts make a huge difference.” Yet the NHTSA reports that only 25 percent of parents “have had a serious talk with their children about the key components of driving,” including belts.
Moms and dads “need to set expectations up front,” Macek declares, suggesting that parents insist point-blank on phone-free driving and a limited number of fellow teen passengers. “Teens are over-represented in car crashes and fatalities largely due to the fact that they’re not experienced, so the most important thing that parents can do is just be engaged in the issue,” she adds. “We are all so pressed for time that it’s hard to do, but it’s critical.” It is, after all, a matter of life and death.
If you or your teenager are involved in a car accident, please call our office and speak with an attorney for a free consultation. Our experienced car accident lawyers will explain your rights to you and help you with the insurance issues for your medical bills, future needs and other compensation.