Keeping Teen Drivers Safe

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

April 29, 2022

How Do I make My Teenager a Safe Driver?

Car accidents are the leading cause of mortality among American youth. Congress created National Teen Driver Safety Week in October 2007 to raise awareness and seek solutions for a tragically chronic issue.

What if I told you… Teenagers aged 16 to 19 are four times as likely as adult drivers to be involved in a fatal car collision. Crash rates among 16-year-olds are the highest of any group of drivers. With each extra passenger in the car, the risks rise.

Every year, tens of thousands of teenagers die in car accidents, leaving bereft parents. What can you do to save yourself and your kid from being part of this statistic?

Learn more about the causes of adolescent car accidents and what you can do to avoid them in the sections below.

If you or your adolescent driver has been in an accident, we can assist you in determining whether or not you are entitled to compensation. We’re here for you and your family, no matter what sort of car accident you’re dealing with. Bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, Uber and Lyft accidents, and other types of accidents are among the cases we’ve handled.

Get in touch with us right away to speak with a car accident lawyer.

STATISTICS ON TEEN DRIVER CRASHES

Let’s get this party started with some positive news.

Teen car accident deaths have dropped significantly over the previous three decades, from over 9,000 in 1980 to 2,476 in 2018. (However, male teenagers continue to be twice as likely as female teenagers to die in an accident.)

[The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] is the source for this information.

Last year, there were 326 fatal collisions involving young drivers in Colorado. One hundred thirty-six people were killed or injured as a result of the attack. Furthermore, in Colorado last year, 7% of all intoxicated drivers involved in fatal collisions were under 21. Some of the drunk motorists were just 14 years old.

It’s also important to consider how your brain develops. According to research done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, teenagers diagnosed with A.D.H.D. are more prone to participate in unsafe driving behaviors.

Compared to their colleagues without A.D.H.D., they are 62% more likely to crash during the first month of driving and 37% more likely to crash within the first four years. Furthermore, compared to 25% of juvenile drivers without A.D.H.D., almost 37% of youth with A.D.H.D. received a traffic infraction during their first year of driving.

Teen Drivers’ Biggest Hazards

Many juvenile car accidents are not caused by reckless driving or thrill-seeking behaviors, which may surprise you. Rather, they’re the product of inexperienced people making basic mistakes.

Which era is the most hazardous? After a youngster earns a provisional license and begins driving independently, the first 6 to 12 months are critical. An adolescent driver’s collision risk lowers dramatically once they’ve driven for 1,500 miles on their own.

When it comes to the causes of catastrophic car accidents, research shows that newly licensed adolescent drivers make four typical yet significant mistakes:

SPEEDING

Speeding was involved in 167,604 accidents in Colorado last year, accounting for 30% of all recorded collisions. In 2017, 31 percent of male drivers aged 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal collisions were speeding at the time.

DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED

Distracted driving is most common among drivers under the age of 20. According to research, they are texting while driving has been proven to raise a teen’s collision risk by 23 times. Friends can also be distracting: with each additional teen passenger in the car, an accident’s chances of being involved increase.

FAILURE TO DETECT A HAZARD OR SLOW RESPONSES:

Teen drivers’ “scanning” skills are underdeveloped, which means they won’t notice a hazard until it’s too late. Furthermore, teen drivers who apply too much brake pressure in response to a hazard risk rear-ending someone or being rear-ended. They may also overcorrect their errors, resulting in erratic swerving and collisions.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED:

Teens are especially vulnerable to drunk driving. Teen drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, but the likelihood of a crash is significantly increased when they do.

Consider the following information:

According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 16.5 percent of high school students in the United States have recently ridden with a drunk driver.

In 2017, 20% of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 involved in fatal crashes were drunk.

Teens are involved in more than half of all fatal car accidents on weekends. Partying and underage drinking are undoubtedly linked to this.

In conclusion, the teens who are most likely to be involved in a car accident are male, newly licensed, and eager to offer rides to their friends.

PARENTS OF TEEN DRIVERS SHOULD FOLLOW THESE SAFETY TIPS.

We’ve all heard of Colorado’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, and you may recall seeing videos or presentations at school warning about the dangers of drunk driving or depicting graphic accident scenes.

However, you won’t be able to scare your kids into staying safe.

Keeping your teen and their friends safe can be as simple as focusing on positive habits and open communication. Take the following advice into consideration:

Show others how to do things.

Never text and drive with your teen in the car, and never rush to beat a yellow light. Even in taxis or ride-sharing cars, always buckle up and remind them to do the same.

Let your feelings be known.

Develop your teen’s trust. They must know they can talk about their driving fears in a secure environment. Encourage them to ask for help and a ride if they or a friend become intoxicated, tired, or otherwise impaired. Emphasize how important it is for all drivers to follow the road rules.

THE G.D.L. LAWS SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD.

State laws on graduated driver licensing differ. Teens in Colorado must stay in phase one for a minimum of six months after receiving their “learner’s permit.” After that, they are eligible for phase two and a “provisional license” if they have completed all driver’s education and are between 16 and 18 years old.

Provisionally licensed drivers are not permitted to transport more than one passenger under the age of 21, and they are prohibited from driving between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m. They can’t use any wireless device, even if it’s hands- free.

MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO SURPRISES REGARDING THE RULES AND PUNISHMENTS.

Whether your teen is driving a car, truck, or S.U.V., and whether they have their license for a few years or not, the rules remain the same, and you must enforce them. If necessary, draught a family contract that everyone can sign. Know when to take the keys away and limit privileges, and don’t be afraid to do so. You may be able to save someone’s life.

Practice, practice, practise are the words that come to mind when thinking about how to improve your

While it will be a few years before your teen driver has to deal with the dreaded commuter traffic, you can help them develop good habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Allow your teen plenty of opportunities to practice driving with you on the highway and in the suburbs.

Assist them in developing confidence by accompanying them in various weather, lighting, and traffic situations. Even if your adolescent is taking driver’s education, make sure he or she gets enough one-on-one practice time. Remember to stay calm and patient throughout the process – no clinging to the steering wheel for dear life or slamming your foot on the fictitious passenger brake!

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention has developed an interactive tool to assist parents and teens in staying safe while driving.

Information, specific goals, a YouTube video tutorial playlist, and more are included in the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide.

Breaking each skill down into individual steps is a good idea. When changing lanes, for example, “S.M.O.G.”: turn on your signal, check your mirrors, look over your shoulder, and get going!

For more information on driving schools in your state, visit the Driving School Association of the Americas. Parents should also look into whether driver education programs meet the Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards. In addition, you can enroll your teen driver in a defensive driving course.

Are you still worried? Install a driving monitoring app on your teen’s phone or car. These apps can monitor various driving behaviors, such as speed and phone usage. Before you start monitoring your teen, make sure they know you’re watching them.

Check for advanced safety features such as blind-spot detection and backup cameras when buying a new car for your teen.

TEENAGE DRIVERS’ SAFETY TIPS

Obtaining your driver’s license is a joyous occasion, but it can also be nerve-wracking. This significant step toward independence carries a great deal of weight.

Driving entails developing muscle memory over time, but there are some safe driving habits you should always follow, such as the following:

Driving while intoxicated is never a good idea.

Driving is a difficult task requiring your undivided attention and razor-sharp reflexes, both of which are impaired by drugs and alcohol. Driving while intoxicated is not only dangerous, but it also carries serious consequences, including the possibility of losing your license.

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS!

Always buckle up, and make sure everyone in your car does as well. In a car accident, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of injury.

Speed limits must be followed at all times.

Always pay attention to the posted speed limit in your area and never go over it. Remember what you learned in physics class: the faster you go, the more difficult it is to stop in an emergency!

THERE ARE NO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM.

Distracted driving makes it difficult for a driver to react to a potential hazard on the road. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel, and your mind on the job. Never drive while eating, drinking, texting, calling, or using mobile apps. Use the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone. Use a proper hands-free car mount if you use a G.P.S./map app. Pullover to the side of the road if you receive an emergency phone call.

There won’t be any rowdy passengers on this trip.

While we’re on the subject of distractions, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of teen passenger deaths occur in cars driven by another adolescent. Conversations with friends can divert your attention away from the road and lead to a fatal accident.

Wearing headphones or blasting music is not a good idea. Other cars’ horns and sirens must be audible to you!

Make sure you’re getting enough rest.

Drivers under the age of 25 make up the bulk of fatigue-related collisions. We understand how difficult it is to combine school, sports, jobs, and homework, but according to SleepFoundation.org, over 70% of high school students sleep less than seven hours each night, much less than the recommended number of 8 to 10 hours. However, you should never drive when sleepy since it might result in death. If you need assistance, call a parent.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE PROTECTED.

You’re likely new to the world of car insurance, but you should be aware that Colorado is a comparative fault state. A minimum level of liability insurance is needed for all drivers.

Consult with your parents to be sure you’re covered. Keep up with the latest news.

If you hold a provisional driver’s license, check your state’s graduated driver licensing (G.D.L.) legislation to see what limitations apply to you.

THE DISCUSSION CONTINUES

It’s normal to be frightened when you learn how many teenagers die in car accidents. But we can all make a difference if we work together.

This week – and every week – parents should have open and honest discussions with their teenagers about driver safety and the decisions they must make about drinking, passengers, distracted and fatigued driving, speeding, and other traffic laws.

We can all work together to assist our kids in becoming lifelong safe drivers.

You may rest easy knowing that if trouble arises on the road, we’ll be there to help. Thousands of families have benefited from our devoted legal team’s efforts in the aftermath of all types of accidents.

Contact a specialist car accident lawyer right away if you need assistance or have concerns regarding a recent car accident. Free and private consultations are always available.

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