The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts many different public awareness campaigns throughout the year, and an upcoming event should be of particular interest to parents of younger motorists. National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 18-24, 2020, a week during which the NHTSA reminds parents to have conversations with their kids about critical safety rules. The statistics should convince you of the importance of such discussion:
- Car accidents are the #1 cause of death for US teens aged 15-18 years old;
- In 2017, 2,247 people were killed in accidents involving a teen driver – of which 755 fatalities were the teenaged motorist; and,
- In Florida, there were 132 deaths and 15,800 injured drivers in the 15-20-year-old age group in 2018.
Parents can be the biggest influence on teen driving behavior, so take the time to talk to your child about the following information regarding car accidents in Miami.
Risk Factors Behind Teen Driver Accidents
To guide you in your conversation with your child, keep in mind some of the key factors that cause or contribute to crashes involving younger motorists.
- Not wearing a seatbelt;
- Driving with other teen passengers, since conversations and interactions can lead to distracted driving;
- Lack of experience, a characteristic that can only be changed through practice and guidance from parents;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which is a serious crime in addition to being extremely dangerous; and,
- Reckless driving, a problem for teens who may be lacking in judgment and maturity.
In addition, National Teen Safety Week offers an opportunity for parents to address the issue of distracted driving. Much of the focus on these risk factors is placed upon texting, talking on the phone, engaging on social media, and related cell phone use; however, any activity that takes a motorist’s attention away from driving can be a serious threat. Examples include eating, putting on makeup, driving with a pet, adjusting the radio, and many other dangerous acts.
Parent Tips to Keep Your Teen Safe
One of the most effective strategies for protecting your child is developing a parent-teen driving contract. Make sure to include obligations for your child AND yourself, as you can lead by example and following your own rules. In your agreement, address the issues mentioned above and include penalties for noncompliance.
Some additional tips can help you protect your younger motorist, such as:
- Set aside time every week to practice driving;
- Prohibit driving with other teens unless you are present;
- Establish a curfew after which your teen is not allowed to drive;
- Impose strict punishment if your teen drives while intoxicated, does not buckle up, uses a phone, or engages in other risky conduct.
Contact a Miami Car Accidents Attorney About Your Rights and Remedies
This information is useful for framing a discussion with your teen, but not all auto crashes are preventable. If you were hurt or lost a loved one, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to learn more about your legal options. We can set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.