Traffic collisions are the top killer of young people in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 1,875 teenagers killed in motor vehicle collisions over the course of 2012. Teen drivers in this age group were also involved in 4,283 deadly car accidents.
A personal injury lawyer knows parents are scared of the risks of their sons or daughters getting their license and getting behind the wheel. Most parents try to set rules and guidelines to reduce the chances their kids will be hurt or killed in crashes. But parents are sometimes not aware of the biggest risks kids face in this regard.
The NHTSA hopes to draw attention to top issues for parents to talk to their kids about as part of the "5 to Drive" campaign.
Parents Should Talk to their Kids about Teen Driver Safety
The "5 to Drive" Campaign was conducted as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which took place toward the end of October. The U.S. Transportation Secretary addressed the National Organizations for Youth Safety over the course of this week, highlighting the importance of adult involvement in cultivating safe driving habits among teens. Parents and guardians were urged to talk to their kids about five top issues as part of the "5 to Drive Campaign." These issues included:
- Cell phones and distracted driving. Kids should never use cell phones behind the wheel, including hands-free devices.
- Extra passengers. Having one extra passenger in the car makes a teen 2.5 times as likely to engage in risky behavior. Having multiple extra passengers in the car makes a teen three times as likely to take risks.
- Speeding. Speeding was a factor in almost half of the 2012 crashes that killed drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.
- Alcohol use. Zero tolerance laws prohibit teens under the age of 21 from consuming any alcohol at all before getting behind the wheel.
- Seat belt use. More than half of the kids killed in 2012 crashes did not have a seat belt on. Parents should ensure that teens buckle up all the time, whether riding as drivers or as passengers.
An article in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics also emphasized parents have an important role to play in helping to keep young people safe. According to the study, parents routinely set rules related to when teens can drive, when they can come home and where they can go. However, it is less common for parents to officially establish rules related to dangerous driving conditions, such as prohibiting teens from getting into the car at night with other passengers.
Parents need to be aware of the safety issues that increase the chances of a teen crash. They should make sure they are talking to their kids and setting a good example. Ultimately, teens are responsible for the choices they make and legal action can be taken against a teen driver if he or she causes a crash and injures or kills someone. However, parents can make a difference and hopefully save some lives by having a serious conversation with their teen about driving safely.
An attorney at Lawter & Associates, Attorneys at Law, PLLC can help after a motor vehicle accident. Call 866-584-1027 or 866-584-1028 for a free case evaluation. Serving Tulsa, Oklahoma City and surrounding areas.