Learning to drive and getting a driver’s license are part of a momentous time in the life of a teenager, as well as in the lives of their parents. For teens, being able to drive means no more having to rely on mom or dad to take them where they want to go. For parents, having a teen driver often means a whole new set of worries. We fear for the safety of our children, as well as their passengers. Unfortunately, our concerns about teenage drivers and car accidents are often justified. The Self Law Firm understands your concerns. In representing car accident victims, we have seen firsthand the serious and potentially life-threatening injuries that can result from car accidents involving teenagers. We have assembled the following information on how and why these accidents occur, as well as some general safety tips for parents to follow in an effort to prevent teen car crashes.
Common Causes of Teen Driver Car Accidents
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that a combination of inexperience and immaturity is often to blame for the prevalence of car accidents involving teenagers. According to research conducted by the IIHS, some of the most common causes of teen driving accidents include:
- Distracted Driving. Teens are among the drivers most impaired by distraction. A recent AAA Foundation in-car studyshowed that teen drivers were distracted almost a quarter of the time they were behind the wheel. Electronic devices, such as texting, emails, and downloading music, were among the biggest distractions, accounting for 7% of the distractions identified on the study video. Another study on distracted driving from naturalistic in-car data collection and analysis showed that distraction related crashes for teens were more prevalent than initially thought.
- Driver error. This is often due to a lack of experience in terms of knowing what to do in potentially dangerous conditions or in emergency situations.
- Speeding. The IIHS states that speeding is a factor in roughly one third of all car accidents involving teenagers, and that many fatal accidents involving teens are single-vehicle crashes resulting from the driver losing control at high speeds.
Teen car accidents are more likely to occur when there are other teenagers in the vehicle. Teen drivers can be easily distracted, and teens tend to show off in front of their friends, engaging in more risky behaviors.
- Drunk Driving. According to the IIHS, teens are overall less likely to drive after drinking than adults, but their risk of being involved in a car accident is significantly higher when they do. One in five teenagers killed in car accidents had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.
- Night driving. Teens are more likely to drive at night and on the weekend, when the overall chance of being involved in an accident is higher.
Additionally, teen driving accident injuries tend to be more severe, as teens are less likely than adults to wear seatbelts.
Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers
When it comes to teenage drivers and car accidents, there are actions parents can take to help ensure their child stays safe behind the wheel. The IIHS recommends the following tips for preventing teen car crashes:
- Take time to practice driving skills with your teen, and model good driving behavior.
- Emphasize the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and require your teen to wear one at all times when in the car.
- Place a limit on the number of passenger your teen can have while driving.
- Restrict night driving by enforcing curfews.
- Have safety in mind when choosing a vehicle for your teen.
- Remind your child of the laws and penalties when it comes to speeding and drinking and driving.
There are now a variety of devices and mobile phone applications you can use to monitor where your teen goes, as well as their driving behavior, hopefully preventing teen car crashes. According to Consumer Reports, GPS-enabled tracking systems such as Mastrack and Motosafety allow parents to monitor their teen driver, while providing information on their teen’s speed, acceleration and braking behind the wheel. These apps also allow parents to view the locations where their child drives, while alerting them if the tracking device is turned off or disconnected. Most devices cost $100 or less, and can provide peace of mind while aiding in preventing teen car crashes.
Call The Self Law Firm, we can help you. If you were hurt in an auto accident because of another driver’s negligence, Alabama Wreck Lawyer and The Self Law firm can help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call us today at (205) 647-1000.