Distracted teen on cell phone while driving

There’s a lot to worry about when your children get their drivers’ licenses. You want to do everything that you can to encourage their independence and keep them safe. As a parent, you need to learn about the risks and help your children stay safe on the road.

Distracted Driving Is One of the Greatest Risks to Teen Drivers

While not every teen driver is distracted behind the wheel, various studies confirm that distracted driving is a problem for many teen drivers.

On the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 39% of high school students who drove admitted to texting or emailing while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate that distracted drivers cause about 14 percent of accidents. The NHTSA’s information is gathered from police reports. However, they may not reflect the true scope of the problem.

Instead of distracted drivers being involved in 14 percent of accidents, a University of Iowa study found that distracted driving was a factor in 58 percent of accidents. Researchers looked at data from 1,691 accidents involving 16- to 19-year-old drivers who had in-vehicle video cameras installed in their cars. Specifically, researchers looked at the six seconds prior to the crashes and found that in 58 percent of the crashes, the teen driver was inattentive or engaged in non-driving related activities. The two most common distractions were interacting with passengers and cell phone use.

Five Ways to Prevent Teen Distracted Driving Accidents

You can’t control everything that your child does behind the wheel. However, you can help your child prevent a distracted driving accident by:

  • Enforcing Iowa’s Graduated License rules if your child is under the age of 18. Once your child has an intermediate license, your child may drive without an adult in the car between 5 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. However, your child cannot use a smartphone, tablet, or another electronic device while driving. Additionally, for the first six months with an intermediate license, your child may only drive with one minor passenger who is not a relative in the car.
  • Practicing driving with your children. You probably drove with your teens when they were preparing to get their licenses. Don’t stop. Check in every once in a while to make sure that they are practicing good driving habits.
  • Setting a good example. If you check your email while driving, your teen will see this as permission to do the same.
  • Having your teen earn privileges. Don’t give your child too many driving privileges at once. Let them earn new privileges by showing they are safely handling those they have already been given.
  • Talking to other parents about teen driver safety. Know their rules before your child gets in another teen’s car.

How to Protect a Teen Hurt by Another Driver’s Negligence

Your child deserves fair compensation for their accident injuries, whether the driver who hurt them was a teen or an adult. It is essential to find out what caused the crash and who may be liable for your child’s accidents injuries.

Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our experienced Iowa car accident lawyers for a free consultation after your child is hurt in a car crash. We will do a thorough investigation to identify who caused the crash and to make sure your child gets a fair recovery.

Insurance companies know that our car accident injury lawyers mean business. We won’t settle until your child receives fair compensation for past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering. We will be ready to go to trial to protect your child’s rights.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation in our Cedar Rapids, Davenport, or West Des Moines office. We can also meet you in your home or hospital room or by phone or video conference. Together, we can help protect your child’s future.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.