Teen Driver Safety

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They account for more than one in three deaths among teens, ages 16 to 19.  Luckily, parents can reduce the risks their teens run every time they get behind the wheel by educating them on some safe driving habits.

At the Cellino & Barnes personal injury law firm, we’re here to help educate and keep you and your children safe on the road.

Don’t Speed

Teen drivers are much more likely than older drivers to speed and underestimate dangerous situations. As a new driver, teens don’t necessarily observe hazardous situations and therefore, often have a slower reaction time.  In 2008, 37% of 15 to 20 year old male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA).

Some teens believe “it won’t happen to me”. One way to drive home the importance of obeying the speed limit is to make them aware of the financial effects of speeding (speeding tickets and higher insurance rates) and to hold them accountable for those costs. Also, talk to your teen about how little they gain by speeding. Saving two minutes on their commute to school is not worth risking their life.

Don’t Drink and Drive

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at any level can impair judgment for all ages, but particularly for young and inexperienced drivers. Studies have shown that teens are more likely to speed and much less likely to buckle up if they have been drinking.

According to an NHTSA study, in 2008, 31% of the teens (15 to 20) who were killed in crashes, had a BAC of .01 or higher; 25 percent had a BAC of .08 or higher. Remind your teen that underage drinking is not okay and driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is dangerous. It is dangerous to get into a vehicle with anyone who has been drinking, regardless of age.

Don’t Drive at Night

As a new driver, teens should avoid driving at night. In 2008, half of the teen deaths from car accidents happened between 3 pm and midnight according to the CDC. Drowsiness greatly increases your chances of crashing, and many studies have shown that teens do not get enough sleep. Poor visibility at night, for an inexperienced driver, can increase the chances of an accident. Set a driving curfew for your teen. Until they become a more experienced driver, this may help to avoid these risks.

Avoid Distractions

Teens should keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes and attention on the road at all times. Cell phones are considered life lines to most teens, but while driving, teens need to avoid distraction.

Remind your teen to keep their radio volume to a level where they can still hear their surroundings and limit the number of passengers allowed in the car. NYS has laws that state only one non-family passenger is allowed in the vehicle.

The leading distractions that resulted in vehicle crashes according to a NHTSA study include:

  • Cell phone use
  • Passenger distractions
  • Reaching for objects inside the vehicle
  • Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle
  • Engaging in distracting behaviors such as eating, drinking, reading, or applying make-up

As a parent, the best way to keep your teen driver safe is to talk with them about safe driving and to lead by example. Remember to follow these safe driving rules: don’t speed, don’t drink and drive, don’t drive when you are tired and avoid distractions.

Have you or a loved been injured in an accident? Contact a Cellino & Barnes car accident lawyer today for your free consultation.

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