This November, a car carrying seven people hit a curb and rolled into a field in Texas. Two 17-year-olds in the vehicle died in the wreck and the five other young passengers were taken to the hospital. My Fox Austin reports that there are only five restraints in the vehicle, and that the passengers taken for medical help suffered injuries ranging from minor to critical.
Any car accident lawyer in Austin knows that this tragic accident was one of many that will this year involving teenagers. Unfortunately, the more teen drivers who are in a car at a time, the greater the accident risk. Teens are also more likely to speed, drive intoxicated, drive drowsy and engage in many high-risk behaviors. Preventing teen car accidents is an effort that has been undertaken by lawmakers, who have instituted graduated driver's license programs throughout the country. Parents, however, ultimately play the biggest role in stopping deadly teen accidents from happening.
Five Things Parents of Teen Drivers Need to Do
The Traffic Safety Store recently provided comprehensive information on the importance of parents becoming involved to make their teen drivers safe. The Traffic Safety Store offered five tips for parents, drawn from manuals produced by State Farm Insurance and the Governor's Highway Safety Administration.
The five things that have been identified as key steps every parent should take to reduce teen car accident deaths include:
- Establishing two-way communication. Parents and teens should create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement together that has legal and household rules and additional information about teen responsibilities. The agreement is a great way for parents and kids to have an open conversation about teen driving and it underscores that teens will be held to certain standards if they want the privilege of driving.
- Understanding driving dangers and setting a good example. While most parents believe drunk driving is the biggest risk for kids, texting is actually more likely, and is extremely dangerous. Having multiple passengers is also really risky. Parents should know that these are the biggest dangers that kids face, and should set a good example by avoiding distracted driving themselves.
- Knowing the importance of graduated licensing programs. Texas has a graduated license program in place, requiring teens under the age of 18 who apply for a license to have an instruction permit for at least six months before getting a provisional license. To move beyond provisional licensing, teens must complete certain licensing requirements. Graduated licensing programs have contributed 20-40 percent of the five percent decline in teen driving deaths in recent years. Parents should not only make sure that their teens follow graduated licensing rules, but should also keep driving with their kids in various conditions after the GDL requirements are met.
- Using surveillance. There is a Driver Feedback App for smartphones and a program offered by American Family Insurance that will offer in-car cameras at no cost. By monitoring kids, you can stop risky behaviors.
- Enrolling in parent/teen driver's education programs. By learning with your child, you can significantly increase safety.
Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teen drivers, so every parent should embrace these tips to help keep their kids safe from a deadly crash.
If you have been the victim of a teen car accident, Bertolino LLP can help. Call our Austin, Houston or San Antonio office today.