NHTSA Encourages Parents of Teenagers to Join ‘5 to Drive’ Car & Highway Safety Campaign

Having a son or daughter learn to drive and eventually own their own set of wheels is a proud moment for any parent. However, as these coming-of-age moments often are, that pride is tinged with at least a hint of apprehension in that you hope your son or daughter will use the car, truck, or SUV responsibly. While you have faith in your child’s judgment, you worry about the influence of peer pressure, alcohol, and the perceived invulnerability of youth.

According to statistics provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of teens and young adults aged from 15 years to 20 years. During 2013 alone, more than 2,500 deaths involving teen drivers of cars, vans, and SUVs occurred. Unfortunately, NHTSA also states that only 25% of parents have sat down and had a serious discussion with their child regarding driving safety. Since teens are our most inexperienced motorists, parents should make a point of discussing these safety risks before an irreversible event occurs. If you or your teen have already suffered life-altering injuries due to a catastrophic car accident, a Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer can fight to obtain the compensation you or your child needs for recovery.

Teens Should never Use Alcohol or Drugs Before or While Driving

The legal drinking age is 21 years in all states. Despite this fact, teens are naturally curious and are often in a hurry to act like an adult. Unfortunately, this can mean that teens may find ways to obtain alcohol from friends, strangers, or even an unlocked family liquor cabinet. While how you handle alcohol use with your teen is your prerogative as a parent, parents should still make their child aware of the significant dangers of alcohol when used before driving. NHTSA reports that nearly 30 percent of 15 to 20 year-olds killed in vehicular accidents had been drinking alcohol before the accident.

Teens Should Never Speed or Use Cell Phones While Driving

The behaviors teens engage in while driving can also significantly impact their level of risk regarding an accident. To begin with, while cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle is dangerous and potentially deadly for all drivers, inexperienced teen drivers are especially impacted by this behavior. According to NHTSA statistics, 11% of drivers aged between 15 years and 19 years appeared to be distracted at the time of their fatal accident. In 2013 alone, 318 people died as a result of a collision with a teenaged driver.

Teens who speed are also significantly more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Driving in excess of the speed limit not only reduces a driver’s margin for error, but also the increased speeds means that wrecks and the corresponding injuries are often more severe. 2013 statistics provided by NHTSA show that excessive speeds factored into 42% of crashes that killed 15 to 20 year-old drivers.

Riding With Extra Passengers Increases the Risk of an Accident for Teenagers

Many states have enacted graduated driver’s license programs that places restrictions upon a teen’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. Arkansas has enacted a program that includes a learner’s permit, a provisional intermediate license, and an unrestricted driver’s license. One of the conditions placed on a teen driver with a provisional license is that he or she is not permitted to operate a vehicle while carrying more than one passenger who is not related to the driver. If the driver does not meet this condition, then he or she must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age in the vehicle. This law was passed because a teen driver is likely to become distracted when there are a number of friends in the vehicle. A teen driver is 2.5 times more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors when he or she is accompanied by one peer. That risk increases to three times more likely when the driver is accompanied by two peers.

Has Your Child Been Injured in a Life-Altering Car Accident?

Parents should continue to impress the severity of these risks and behaviors. Furthermore, parents should continue to encourage responsible seat belt use by teens. While you child might roll his or her eyes at your car safety warnings, these things do stick with them.

However, if the unthinkable has already occurred and you are looking for legal guidance and representation following a serious vehicular accident, contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak. For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has fought to obtain compensation for injured people. To schedule a free, private consultation call 479-438-1843 or contact us online.