According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. The primary cause of these accidents is distracted or impaired driving. In response to these striking statistics, the National Organizations for Youth Safety have designated May as Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.
May is an important month to focus on driving safety because it coincides with the end of the school year, graduations and proms, times at which teen driving accidents spike. When we learn about these types of accidents, we’re often quick to scold teens for their perceived addiction to their phones, or inability to make “the right” choices when faced with peer pressure. Yet at the same time, we encourage teens to get their licenses as soon as possible, market insurance to them and their parents, and encourage them to carpool with friends. Then when they get into accidents, we try to settle them with all the blame.
We give teens with freedom of movement, as well as access to a dangerous machine, but often fail to remember that it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure they’re prepared to get behind the wheel. Teen driving accidents are a societal problem -- one we must all work together to prevent.
Three Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers:
- Educate yourself about the graduated driver license (GDL) law. Parents need to be just as concerned about learning the details of the GDL law for their state, as they are about their newly increased car insurance rate. The GDL has been in effect for more than a decade and is credited with lowering teen driver crashes, injuries and fatalities. But parents, who don’t understand how and why GDL works, aren’t leveraging a tool that is proven to lower their teens’ crash risk.
- Become a teacher. Many parents believe their teens will learn everything they need to know from their driver’s education instructor. However, there’s a reason most states’ GDL laws require a probationary period when teens may only drive if there is a licensed driver in the vehicle with them. This person is often a parent, and instruction should go beyond trips to the grocery store. Adults often have years of driving experience that is invaluable when their teen finally gets the keys.
- Set an example. Parents are often thrilled that there’s another driver in the household to free them from constantly shuttling their teens around. However, when parents are the ones behind the wheel, the example they set can have lasting impressions on their teens. If you talk on the phone while driving, neglect your seat belt or even ignore your check engine light, remember that your teen is committing that to memory.
During the month of May, let’s all work together to prevent teen driving accidents. Help spread the word by requesting a free DNT TXT N DRV bumper sticker from Hupy and Abraham.
If you are injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Hupy and Abraham right away by calling 800-800-5678 or by starting a live chat 24/7 at Hupy.com.