Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Parents – Protect Your Teen Drivers With These Tips!
One of the most exciting times for any teenager is receiving his or her driver’s license and the sense of freedom this provides them.
Sadly, personal injury lawyers know all too well that it’s these younger, less experienced drivers who account for nearly 9% of all traffic fatalities1 with 2,476 fatalities2 among 15 to 20-year-olds reported in 2018 alone.
Personal injury attorneys understand that these are sobering statistics that surely concern every parent with a teenager just getting behind the wheel for the first time.
With the tips presented below by personal injury lawyers who frequently see the legal and physical aftermath of these events, parents can protect their teens by promoting safety and encouraging safer driving habits.
Send Your Teen To Driving School
Even if you plan on practicing with your teenager as they learn the skills necessary to get their license, personal injury lawyers do recommend that teens take lessons from a reputable driving instructor.
Instructors ensure that new drivers learn the basics of safe driving and have the skills and knowledge necessary to pass the driving test and safely operate a vehicle.
Get The Right Car and Safety Features
Parents should recognize that not all cars are suitable for newer drivers, and personal injury attorneys highly recommend vehicles that have more safety features, are easier to control, and have good reliability records.
Recommendations of cars for younger and inexperienced drivers are those that do not encourage speeding or other risky behavior as sports cars might nor accommodate extra passengers like SUVs with additional seating.
Personal injury lawyers also recommend vehicles with teen-focused safety features such as speed maximum settings, buckle-to-drive or other seatbelt features, inability to deactivate safety features, vehicle distance and location tracking, and other programmable restrictions.
Lead By Example to Encourage Safe Habits
Kids learn from the examples set by their parents and other adults around them, so the big message here is to set a good example and teach your teen responsible and safe driving habits that can help them avoid a car accident.
Specifically, show your teen driver by example to always buckle up, avoid speeding, and don’t engage in driving distractions like texting or phone calls.
Something that personal injury lawyers who deal with DUI's and injury claims can’t stress enough is to make sure your teen knows that driving after drinking is already a major cause of many teen driving accidents and is totally unacceptable at any time.
Maintain Some Control
Personal injury attorneys who are experienced in this field recommend that parents and teens agree on parents maintaining a certain degree of control for a while, such as setting limitations on how, when, and where the car is used.
Communicate things like expected departure and arrival times, driving hours, limiting driving after dark, emergency plans in case of trouble, and other suggestions or restrictions that may be suitable.
When parents and teens are able to communicate well and respect each other’s views and concerns about driving, personal injury lawyers observe that everyone remains happier and driving is safer.
Parents and Teens - Working Together for Driving Safety
Driving is a privilege that most teens anticipate and embrace wholeheartedly once they get their licenses.
Unfortunately, personal injury attorneys see too often that lack of experience, poor judgment, and unsafe habits result in deadly accidents.
Parents should strive to influence their teen drivers in positive ways that protect them from dangerous situations that could lead to a lifetime of regrets.
1The National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Traffic Safety Facts 2017 Data, Young Drivers, May 2019
2Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, Fatality Facts 2018: Teenagers, December 2019