The saying goes that once you are a parent, you never get a full night’s sleep again. You go from being up for midnight feedings and diaper changes, and seemingly overnight you are handing them the keys to the car, while you wait up worrying when they will be home. For parents of teen drivers, it is important realize that your concerns are justified. Teens are statistically more likely to be involved in automobile accidents than other drivers, and injuries caused by teen drivers are often severe and even life-threatening. As a parent, it is up to you to know the dangers, and to set guidelines to keep your son or daughter safe while behind the wheel.
Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. It is estimated that six teens a day are killed in automobile crashes, and over 240,000 are treated for injuries due to car accidents each year. Driving is a complex skill which takes time to master, and teens are more likely to take risks and underestimate dangerous conditions than older, more experienced drivers. The CDC lists the following as the most common causes of teen car accidents:
- General driver inexperience;
- Driving with other teenaged passengers;
- Poor visibility when driving at night;
- Distracted driving, such as texting and using cell phones;
- Reckless driving, including speeding and ignoring traffic devices; and
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Teens are also more likely to not wear seat belts, resulting in more serious injuries in the event they are in an accident.
Guidelines to Prevent Teen Car Accidents
Unfortunately, half of all teens will be involved in a car accident before graduating high school. While laws are meant to prevent accidents and punish behavior such as texting while driving, driving while impaired, speeding or running stop signs, laws alone are not enough. Parents need to not only set a good example in their own driving habits, but also to set guidelines for their children when it comes to getting behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as part of its “Five to Drive” safety campaign, urges parent to set guidelines for teen drivers that address five different safety concerns:
- No alcohol: 29 percent of fatal teen driving accidents are as the direct result of alcohol use.
- No cell phones or texting: Teen drivers are the most likely group to drive while distracted, with often fatal results.
- No driving without a seatbelt: Half of all teen car accident fatalities involve young people who were not wearing a seatbelt.
- No speeding: Speed is a factor in 42 percent of fatal teen car accidents.
- No extra passengers: Teens are 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky or reckless behavior when there are other passengers in the cars.
By using these statistics and guidelines to talk to your child about the dangers of teen driving, you may be able to prevent a tragedy before it happens.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact our experienced Florida car accident attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we can help you receive compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, our attorneys will fight for your rights to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free review of your case.