Strategies for Reducing Teen Driver Fatalities

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Dec 15, 2014 in Car Accident News

Before your child "leaves the nest" for college or occupational opportunities, there is an even scarier moment: when they start driving. Many parents are frightened about the idea of their teen hitting the road by themselves, and rightfully so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, collisions kill an average of 2,500 teens per year. Nearly every state has taken measures to prevent these deaths, most of which were deemed "preventable." Even still, the regulations are inconsistent from state to state. As a parent, the best course of action is to follow the safest guidelines, regardless of whether they are mandatory in your particular state or area. Here are some recommendations from Henness & Haight's dedicated Las Vegas car accident attorneys. Enforce the Law Rather than hoping a police officer will pull your child over for a violation and set them straight, teach teens good habits from the get-go. Most states employ graduated driver's license (GDL) programs that gradually in state driving privileges according to experience. Make sure that your child abides by these restrictions. Most of them include:

  • Supervised driving with a learner's permit for several hundred hours
  • Nighttime driving restrictions
  • Passenger limits The implementation of GDL programs is thought to have a significant impact on teen car crash fatalities.

Statistics show that deaths of 16-year-old drivers were reduced by 45 percent from 2002 to 2007. Researchers from institutions like Johns Hopkins University credit GDL programs for most of this progress. Ensure Seat Belt Use Good habits start early. Begin teaching your child to use their seat belt properly at a young age. Set a good example by using a restraint yourself. Once you have ingrained the idea of habitual seat belt use, your teen is likely to follow through on this behavior. Remind them periodically of how important seat belts are. Roughly half of all teens in fatal crashes were not wearing their seat belt.

Tell Them to Avoid Distractions

Many studies have demonstrated that distracted driving can be just as bad in most situations as drunk driving. Depending on the context it may even be worse. Since you are not able to ride in the car with your teen most times, try to reinforce the dangers that distractions cause. Many activities that would be considered normal for multitasking turn deadly while driving. These include:

  • Using the cell phone in any way, especially browsing or texting
  • Eating
  • Engaging excessively in conversations with passengers
  • Loud music
  • "Rubbernecking" or trying to observe objects outside their lane in such a way as to divert their gaze for too long

Other Risk Factors

Other activities may not be obvious distractions but can still have an impact. The best example is driving while feeling emotional. Our minds tend to wander when we are feeling angry, sad or generally anxious. Tell your teen to clear their mind or pull over instead of losing themselves in thought. Driving while impaired is one of the most dangerous activities any person, regardless of age, can engage in. Enforce zero tolerance when it comes to using drugs or alcohol then driving. Tell them you will pick them up or call them a cab if necessary to avoid that situation. Should you teen ever end up in an accident, consider hiring a car accident lawyer. In the past, we have negotiated larger insurance settlements and helped drivers avert undue legal liability. Visit our motor vehicle accidents page to find out more. If you have been injured in a car accident and you're looking for a reputable Las Vegas personal injury attorney contact Henness & Haight today for a free consultation.