With school soon to be back in session around Miami-Dade County, there are many nervous parents who will be signing their children up for driver’s licenses courses and training. If you are one of them, it is understandable that you are feeling apprehensive: According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2017 Annual Report, there is a yearly average of 62,992 car accidents involving drivers aged 15 to 20 years old. They may cover just a five-year age span, but these young motorists are responsible for over 16% of all crashes.
As a parent, you can do your part to reduce the likelihood of your child being in a car accident in Miami. A few tips may be helpful.
Be an Involved Parent
Your teen will learn a lot through classes and instruction, but new drivers need practice to gain essential experience. Your role as a parent should be to get your child behind the wheel as much as possible – with you in the passenger’s seat. Start with short trips to familiar locations, like the store, getting gas, and other errands. Keep your temper under control and offer calm, helpful tips. When you spend more time and actively participate in driving practice, your teen learns how to properly react to conditions on the road.
Establish Reasonable Rules
Always remind your teen that a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. The state requires compliance with traffic laws, and you should also include rules for your child. Examples may include:
- Always notify a parent before taking the car out, and check in upon arrival.
- Never drink and drive.
- Obey the speed limit and all traffic signals.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Put the phone away and never use it while driving.
- No peer passengers without a parent in the car for at least three months.
Implement Punishment for Breaking the Rules
When you establish rules, you also need to ensure your teen understands the consequences of violating them. Again, some examples may provide some guidance.
- Alcohol or drug use: Driving suspended for six months.
- Speeding: No driving for six weeks.
- Using a cell phone: No driving privileges for one month.
- Not buckling up: No driving for two weeks.
- Lying about using the car: Driving privileges suspended for four months.
Set an Example
Driving is one key area where parents must lead by example. You will make the biggest impact on your teen’s safety habits when you practice what you preach. Follow your own rules about speeding, cell phone use, wearing a seatbelt, and other safety issues. Do not drive recklessly, and never get behind the wheel after you have been drinking.
Consult with a Miami Car Accident Attorney Today
These tips may reduce the potential for crashes, but accidents can still happen – and many of them are not your teen’s fault. If your child was hurt in a collision, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to set up a free case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach. Once we learn more about your circumstances, we can advise you on next steps.
(image courtesy of Jose Rodriguez)