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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
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Important Tips for Keeping Your Teen Safe

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After over 20 years of representing personal injury victims and their families who have had their lives changed forever in all sorts of terrible accidents, I am here to offer a unique perspective on ways to keep our teenaged children safe. I am the proud parents of two teenagers, so this is an issue that is near-and-dear to my heart.

  1. Where’s My Teenager? Find Out with a GPS Tracking System – If you provide your teen a car or a cell phone, establish a GPS tracking ability. Several programs allow you to “see” on a computer the geo location of a mobile phone or of a car (your teen may drive it but you likely paid or co-signed for it!). To get GPS tracking software try software called Google Latitude, pocketfinder.com, brickhousesecurity.com (search: teen).
  1. No Substitute Drivers for Your Teen – There have been a number of tragic personal injury cases involving teenagers who get a last minute ride from some friend that was not approved by the parents in advance. These drivers routinely have poor records and wind up causing a bad car wreck. Who are these substitute drivers? Of course it’s too late when you find out that there’s been a terrible accident. This is especially important for parents whose teenagers are on a vacation or a summer trip or something unusual that takes your teenager into a slightly unusual situation. You must advance plan, not fail to plan.
  1. Stress Basic Bike Safety – In Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) there is an ordinance that requires bicycle helmets for all riders until the age of 16. Parents routinely ignore it. Don’t be one of them. I’m one of the only parents on my block who insists that my kids wear that bicycle helmet, and if I see them on their bicycle without it they’re grounded. Why? Because your teen on a bike is no match against a car. Many bike riders hit by cars suffer permanent injuries like a traumatic brain injury or paralysis.
  1. Watch Where They Walk – Whether it’s walking down a country road or a busy street like Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk, VA you do not walk on the side with the traffic flow. The law requires you to walk along the side facing traffic. A surprising number of parents do not know that this is a basic law in almost every state. Presumably, it’s been the common law because you see the cars approaching you.

I hope you’ve found these safety tips helpful. If you’d like to get more tips, download our free consumer report featuring a teenage safety checklist for any and all parents.

For other teen and related health and safety checklists, check these sites out:

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.


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  1. Allen Muchnick says:
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    The best way to be safer bicycling is to complete a Smart Cycling course by instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. Go to http://www.bikeleague.org to contact a nearby instructor.