7 Tips for Teen Driver Safety
7 Tips for Teen Driver Safety

The day your teen gets their driver’s license is a significant milestone. Teenagers’ ability to drive themselves is a huge step toward independence. However, the reality is that teen drivers are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road. Thus, their newfound freedom comes with a great deal of responsibility.

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15-18 in the U.S. In 2015, 1,972 teen drivers died in fatal crashes. Compared with adult drivers, teen drivers are three times more likely to crash

What are the Main Contributors to Accidents Involving Teen Drivers?

  • Alcohol: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 20% of the teen drivers killed in crashes in 2015 had been drinking.
  • Failure to wear a seat belt: In 2014, more than 59% of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt. And in 2015, more than half of the 531 passengers killed in vehicles driven by teens were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Distracted driving: In 2015, 10% of teens who were involved in a fatal accident were driving distracted.
  • Speeding: In 2014, speeding was involved in 30% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
  • Number of passengers: Teens are three times more likely to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel when they are transporting multiple passengers. In fact, a teen’s risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases directly with the number of passengers in the vehicle.
  • Drowsy driving: We typically think of older adults succumbing to exhaustion behind the wheel, but this can happen to our teens as well. With early morning wakeups for school, along with extracurriculars and homework that keep them up late, teens are busy and often sleep-deprived.

If you have a teen driver in your home, you should discuss safe driving behaviors with them. Additionally, you should model safe driving so that they see it in action.

Here are some safe driving tips to discuss with your teen driver:

  1. Turn off your cell phone while driving. While it is dangerous for anyone to use their phone while driving, it is actually unlawful for teens to do so in California. Teen drivers ages 18 and younger are forbidden from using mobile devices while driving, even in hands-free mode. Teens should eliminate the temptation by simply turning off their cell phones while driving, or putting it on “do not disturb” mode and keeping it out of reach.
  2. Obey the speed limit. Teens are at a high risk for accidents while speeding. Following the speed limit might not sound fun to your teen who is finally able to get behind the wheel, but it will keep them safe, and also keep them from getting speeding tickets that will taint their driving records and drive up their insurance rates.
  3. Avoid driving teen passengers. For teen drivers, having just one teen passenger in their vehicle can double their risk of causing an accident. Set clear rules for your teens about who they can drive. The fewer teens in their car, the better.
  4. Minimize distractions behind the wheel. Cell phones are not the only distraction teens need to worry about. Food and drinks, the radio, navigation system and distracting passengers can all create a dangerous environment for a teen driver. Ditch the distractions and focus on the road.
  5. Never drink and drive. Driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous things any driver can do. Set a zero tolerance policy for your teen, and make sure they understand the grave consequences of drinking and driving.
  6. Take a safe driving course. If you are concerned about your teen’s driving knowledge and ability, having them take a safe driving course is a good option. The more practice they can get, the better off they will be behind the wheel.
  7. Choose a safe car for your teen to drive. Safety features like front and side airbags and antilock brakes can save lives in a crash. Equip your teen with as many safety features as possible.

“Help your teen become a good driver by encouraging safe driving habits. One of the best ways to do this is to model these good habits when you drive,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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