For teenagers, summer is synonymous with freedom, fun, and hanging out with friends. Days are longer, schedules are flexible, and curfews may be relaxed. As the parent of a teenager, you can enjoy this phase of your child’s life while being smart and aware. It’s your job to set rules and educate your kids about how to drive safely.
In 2016, 1,050 people were killed in a crash involving a teenager between Memorial Day and Labor Day — a 14 percent increase over the rest of the year. And this wasn’t a fluke. There’s a reason this annual period is called the 100 Deadliest Days: as school lets out, more teens hit the road, and more collisions occur.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, call the Austin personal injury lawyers at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm. We have experience, compassion, and a proven record of winning the money our clients need to rebuild their lives.
Teen Drivers are Inexperienced and Prone to Distraction
Even if your teenager is an excellent driver when you or another adult is in the car, you can’t know what’s going on when you’re not. Kids just don’t have the experience to always make smart last-minute judgments and decisions while they’re behind the wheel, and they are more likely to become dangerously distracted. Here are the sobering facts:
- 33% of teenagers who die are killed in motor vehicle accidents, making it the leading cause of death for the age group.
- 16-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any age.
- 56% of teenagers talk on the phone while driving, a habit that can double the likelihood of crashing.
- The leading distraction for teen drivers is other passengers. Death rates for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increase with each person in the car.
- Speed is another risk for teens: the crash rate goes up for every mile per hour driven over the limit.
- 36% of fatalities involving teenage drivers occur at night, between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- On average, 26% more teenagers die in car crashes during the summer than at other times of the year.
Teach Your Teen to Drive Safely
As with all aspects of parenting, open communication is key when it comes to raising a teenager who knows how to stay safe on the road. Here’s what you as a parent can do to make sure your kids have a fun, accident-free summer.
- Talk to your kids often about the dangers of driving and the importance of staying vigilant behind the wheel.
- Set strict rules. For example: they must stay within the speed limit at all times, cannot use electronic devices, and must call you for a pickup if they have had a drink or are otherwise impaired. You may want to limit the number of passengers they are allowed to carry.
- Teach them to say “no” if they are pressured to ride in a car driven by another teenager and feel uncomfortable about the situation. Make sure they know they can call you for a ride under any circumstances, with no judgment or repercussions.
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle wreck? Call Chip Evans today for a free consultation.