Tips for Parents to Help Keep their Teen Drivers Safe Behind the Wheel
Getting a driver’s license is a major milestone in every teenager’s life. As a parent, whether your teen will be of driving age soon or is currently of age to drive, just the thought of your teen behind the wheel can be enough to make you lose some sleep at night. And this time of year, with the challenges of shorter days and harsher weather, your teens need to be extra careful out on the road. The auto accident attorneys of Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys would like to offer you some tips that can help keep your teen driver safe behind the wheel.
Why Is There So Much Concern Over Teen Drivers?
You do not need to feel like you are overreacting out of concern for your teen’s safety on the road. There are plenty of reasons why you should worry when your child gets behind the wheel.According to the CDC, every day six teens lose their lives in a car crash. Teenagers are involved in a higher rate of fatal crashes forthree main reasons:
- Low level of experience
- Lack of driving skills
- Lack of maturity
They might not always follow the rules of the road, meaning they may speed and ignore traffic signals or traffic signs. And of course, teens are easily distracted. The risk of distraction only increases when you add in driving with their friends in the car, using a cell phone, or even just tuning a station in on the radio.
Set a Good Example
Do not rely solely on your teen’s driving instructor or school’s driver’s education class to teach them how to drive. Take time with your teen to give them time to practice their driving skills. This will show you where your teen might need some improvement on their basic driving skills. But most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to set a good example for your teen. They can learn how to be a responsible driver by observing your good driving habits. Make sure that you obey the rules of the road and never drink and drive. You might not realize it, but your actions do influence your children more than you may think.
Warn of the Dangers of Drunk Driving
While the number of high school kids who drink has dropped by 54 percent since 1991,one in 10 teens drink. Teen drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% are 17 times more likely to die in a crash than those who were not drinking. All it takes is one drink to increase the risk of being in a fatal crash. Remind your teens of the dangers of drunk driving and the effectshaving a DUI/DWI could have on their life.
Speed kills! Teens lack the maturity, judgment and most importantly, driving experience to handle risky situations. Discuss the dangers of not obeying the speed limit and make sure they understand when they should adjust their speed as needed to match road conditions in bad weather, includingblack ice during the wintertime. They should also be aware of the need to keep enough space between vehicles in front of their vehicle to avoid a rear-end collision in the event of a sudden stop.
Discuss the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Because teens have less experience behind the wheel, they are more susceptible to distractions while driving. Their risk of being in a car crash increases by six times whenever they dial a phone number and by 23 times when they send a text. But it is not just their cell phone use you need to worry about. Just the simple acts of drinking a cup of coffee, applying makeup, or trying to eat their breakfast before school is enough to take their attention away from the road. The risk of distraction grows even more when they have passengers in their vehicle. Taking their eyes from the road for just five seconds could be deadly.
Ensure Your Teen Is Driving a Safe Vehicle
It is understandable that most parents do not want to hand their teen a brand new car. But buying an inexpensive and old car or passing down a car that is past its prime is not always the best thing to do either. Older cars do not have the latest safety features like side curtain airbags or electronic stability control that would help keep your teen driver safe. Before purchasing a car for your teen, make sure it is mechanically sound andsuitable for a new or inexperienced driver. And once your teen is driving a vehicle, make sure that they understand the basics of checking tire pressures, checking the oil, and knowing when the car may require a repair or servicing.
Get Familiar with Louisiana’s 3-Stage GDL System
To help keep your teen safe behind the wheel, Louisiana and all states across the county have adopted athree-stage graduated driver licensing system (GDL). This system is designed to reduce your teen’s risk of being in a crash by almost 50 percent. It does it by limiting the number of high-risk driving situations that young drivers are exposed to. It also establishes a zero-tolerance for drunk driving. You can do your part by making sure that your teen abides by the restrictions that are set by the GDL, including:
15 year old drivers with a learner’s license:
- Must drive with a parent, licensed sibling who is at least 18 years old, or other licensed adult who is at least 21 years old.
- May not use a cell phone, including hands free while driving.
- Is required to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with 15 of those hours being at night before being eligible to obtain their intermediate license at age 16.
16 year old drivers who are eligible for an Intermediate License are restricted to:
- No driving between the hours of 11pm-5am without having a licensed adult, 21 years or older or licensed sibling 18 years or older with them.
- Not transporting more than one passenger under the age of 21 years of age between 6pm-5am unless it is an immediate family member.
- No cell phone use, including talking and texting, unless it is an emergency while driving.
- Making sure that everyone in their vehicle is wearing a seat belt before putting it into motion.
17 year old drivers who are eligible for a Class “E” License are:
- Prohibited from using their cell phones to talk or text unless it is an emergency.
Observe National Teen Driver Safety Week
Despite the graduated driver licensing system, some teens still push the envelope when it comes to abiding by the restrictions placed on them. Each October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors their Teen Driver Safety Week. This year the week will run from October 21 to October 27. Our auto accident attorneys encourage parents to have conversations with their teens about the importance of following the rules. Explain that these rules intend to keep them safe behind the wheel of their vehicles. The NHTSA recommends that parents set ground rules with their teens before they drive and frequently remind them of the “6 Rules for the Road”:
- No cell phone use while driving
- Do not speed
- No alcohol
- Do not drive while drowsy or fatigued
- No extra passengers
- Do not drive or ride in someone else’s vehicle without wearing a seat belt
Encourage Extra Caution for Halloween Night
With Halloween just around the corner, there are some extra challenges for young and inexperienced drivers around the New Orleans area. Remind your teens that they should be extra careful and be on the lookout for young trick or treaters who might be excitedly running into the streets and not watching out for cars.
But it is not just children they need to worry about. Older kids and adults dressed in dark costumes might not be immediately visible to drivers as they cross the street, too. Pedestrians dressed in costumes might also have limited visibility and not see oncoming cars.
Louisiana Auto Accident Attorneys that Care
Despite taking all precautions, unfortunately some teens still end up getting into auto accidents. And often through no fault of their own. If your teen suffers injuries in an accident, you could have the right to compensation for medical bills and other losses. The auto accident attorneys of Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys are always ready to assist you in your time of need. While our normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., there is someone always available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us directly orcontact us via our online LiveChat to schedule your free consultation. We won’t ask you for any fees unless we win your case.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.