For parents, the day their teenager gets their driver’s license is the day they can retire from being a chauffeur. No more carpooling kids to school or waiting outside movie theatres when your child is late for the pre-arranged pick up time. Unfortunately, it can also mean the end of a good night’s sleep, as you wait for your teen to return home safely in your vehicle. Teens are the most at-risk group for car accidents, which can end up resulting in serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The following offers information to make you aware of the dangers, along with tips on communicating to your teen the importance of driver safety.
Teen Car Accidents and Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. More than 2,000 teens are killed each year as a result of car crashes and collisions, while more than 200,000 others end up suffering serious injuries. More than any other driver, teens are in the most at-risk age group: while they represent less than seven percent of all motorists, they account for nearly twice as much in car accident costs. Factors that put teens at a greater risk for accidents include:
- Driver inexperience: As a result of limited experience on the road or in handling different traffic and weather conditions, teens are less likely to respond appropriately to sudden changes and emergency situations.
- Reckless driving: Teens are more likely to engage in speeding, going too fast for conditions, and even racing other drivers. As a result, collisions they are involved in tend to be more severe.
- Driver distraction: Teens are more likely to be distracted by items both in and out of the vehicle. Interacting with passing motorists, talking on cellphones and texting, and taking pictures behind the wheel all diverts their attention from the important task of driving.
- Driving under the influence: Teens are less able to handle the impact of alcohol and they are more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking or when using other substances.
How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Car Accidents
While you cannot control what your teen driver does once they are behind the wheel, you can recognize the influence you have over them as their parents. In addition to setting healthy limits on their driving time and the number of passengers they are permitted to have in the vehicle, Travelers Insurance recommends doing the following:
- Model safe driving, following all posted signs, and staying within speed limits.
- Always use a seat belt and require passengers to do the same.
- Talk to your child about teen car accident risks.
- Stay involved, continuing to offer tips, and to monitor their behavior and their driving skills.
Contact Shapiro & Appleton
In the event you or your teenager are involved in a crash, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver and any other party that may be responsible. Our firm can help you get the damages you may be entitled to. You can receive financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, and more. Call our office to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.