Protect Teen Drivers This Summer with Our Safety Tips

Distractions, Inexperience and Risky Behavior Spell Trouble

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental death for teens. It is estimated that on average, six teenagers die every day in the United States from a car crash. As teens break for the summer, you should know how to keep them, and others, safe.

texting teen
Teens who text and drive are outside of their lane about 10% of the time.

The Stats

A teen driver on the road is more likely to cause a car crash than any other driver. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. Young men are two times more likely to get in a crash than young women.

If your teen driver has recently received their license, inexperience can spell disaster out on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers ages 16 to 17 are twice as likely to get in a car crash compared to teen drivers ages 18 to 19.

Teens are also less likely to practice safe driving behavior, such as using seat belts or maintaining a safe following distance. In 2019, only 57 percent of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else. [Review report.]

The Risks

Teens are also much more likely to drive distracted. Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related crashes, and 42 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. Carpooling seems like a convenient way to get to school, but teens riding with other teen drivers increase the risk of distraction with every additional teen passenger. Here are all eight of the CDC danger zones most often linked to teen crashes:

  1. Driver Inexperience
  2. Driving with Teen Passengers
  3. Nighttime Driving
  4. Not Using Seat Belts
  5. Distracted Driving
  6. Drowsy Driving
  7. Reckless Driving
  8. Impaired Driving

The Parents

So, what can parents do to prevent teen driving tragedies?

  • Most important, lead by example. Forty-eight percent of young drivers have seen their parents talking on a cell phone while driving, and 15 percent of those have seen their parents texting while driving. Show your kids how to drive responsibly by driving distraction free, wearing your seatbelt and following all speed limits and traffic laws.
  • Set limits. Multiple teen passengers and late-night driving lead to more crashes. Limit the number of passengers for your teen drivers and set a curfew.
  • Buy a safe car. The car your teen drives should be reliable. Purchase from a reputable dealer, and check all cars at Safercar.gov for recalls. Make sure your young driver knows what to do if a car breaks down.
  • practice driving
    Experts suggest teens practice driving with parents 30 to 50 hours.
  • Practice driving with your teen. Provide your teen driver with 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least six months. Practice on a variety of roads, at different times of day, and in varied weather and traffic conditions. Stress the importance of continually scanning for potential hazards, including other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Create a parent-teen driving agreement. Put your driving rules in writing to clearly set limits, as well as the consequences for not following those rules.

 

If you have been in an accident, contacting a lawyer is important! Even if you think you don’t need one.

Consultations are always free at The Hendon Law Firm. Call us today if you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck crash, or auto wreck.

Zack Hendon is conveniently located at 445 Franklin Gateway, SE, Suite 230, Marietta, GA 30067, telephone:  770-284-3737.

Distracted Driving and Car Accidents: How to Define It, Avoid It, Stop It

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were killed in 2019 crashes involving driver distraction. This number accounts for almost 9% of all fatalities in 2019, which is a 10% increase from 2018. Preliminary data from 2020 estimates that these numbers actually rose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Distracted Driving Involves Much More
Than Just Cell Phones, Texting

What exactly is distracted driving? Cell phones factor into many kinds of distractions, but there are plenty of other ways to lose focus while driving. The three types of distracted driving as identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

This can include texting, talking on a phone, eating, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, adjusting music or reacting to the behavior of a passenger. Here are some good ways to avoid driving distracted:

  • Turn it off: Either turn off your phone or switch to silent mode before you get in the car. Never text, use social media or check email while driving.
  • Deputize your passengers: Ask your passengers to answer calls or texts for you. Conversely, if you are a passenger, offer to answer the driver’s phone.
  • Prepare: Review maps or lock in your navigation system before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger or pull over to review or reset directions.
  • Secure your pets: Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
  • Focus on the task at hand: Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off your driving.

tired nurse

End Distracted Driving by Getting Involved

It will take all of us to realize a drastic reduction in crashes caused by distraction. Fortunately, there are many ways to get involved no matter your age or driving experience.

  • Teens are most likely to drive distracted. In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month. But teens can also be effective messengers with their peers, so encourage them to not only avoid distracted driving but also to speak up when they see a friend (or even another adult) driving while distracted.
  • Parents first have to lead by example — by never driving distracted — as well as talking to their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Remind your teen driver that in states with graduated driver licensing (GDL), violating distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license. And remember to avoid calling your kids when you think they might be driving as teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents.
  • Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.

If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws that make roads safer, speaking out at community meetings and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving to loved ones and on social media.

Congratulations! You have been selected to the 2021 Georgia Super Lawyers list.

Zack Hendon, attorney at The Hendon Law Firm has again been selected to the Georgia Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers designation is awarded to only 5% of attorneys in Georgia and is reserved for attorneys who have attained a high level of professional achievement and peer recognition. Thank you to all of my colleagues and peers for nominating me for this award and and to our past and present clients and friends for placing your trust in The Hendon Law Firm.

For a free consultation of your wrongful death, car accident, semi-truck accident, or workers’ comp claim please call 770-284-3737.