National Teen Safety Week Highlights Risks For Teenage Drivers

This week, The U.S. Department of Transportation announced an effort to get parents and their teenage children to discuss the topic of safe driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 187,000 teenage drivers were injured in car crashes in 2010 and 1,963 young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 died that year. One of every ten operators at the wheel in a fatal accident is between 15 and 20 years of age.

One of the significant issues in these fatal accidents and large volume of injuries is the use of cell phones or texting while driving. In 2010, 368 teenage drivers died while they were distracted by the use of electronic devices, which was 13% of the total of all fatal accidents involving distracted driving in 2010. NHTSA has determined that teenage drivers are 2 ½ times more likely to drive while taking risks when at least one other teen is in their vehicle than while driving alone. A majority of all teen fatal crashes happen between 9:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

Another major risk that teens engage in is failing to use their seatbelts. NHTSA notes that 60% of 16-20 year old occupants who died in car crashes in 2010 were not wearing their seatbelts. Alcohol is a major risk factor as well. 22% of teenage drivers killed in 2010 had alcohol in their system.

NHTSA provides several suggested rules for the parents of teenage drivers, including:

Have a contract with your child with regard to the rules of their driving, and the consequences if they fail to comply with the agreement;
Forbid the use of any electronic devices in the car while the teenager is driving;
Place limits on the teen’s driving during evening hours, such as no driving after 10:00 PM;
Insist on the teen wearing his or her seat belt at all times;

Demand complete drug and alcohol abstinence while driving. Additionally, bring to their attention the dangers of being in a car with another teen who has been driving or using drugs.

Permit your child to have only one passenger at all times, to limit the likelihood that he or she will be goaded by one of the occupants to engage in a risky behavior in an effort to impress the passengers in the vehicle;

Monitor and be careful with your own driving behaviors while your teenage driver is in the car with you. I confronted this issue recently with my teenage son at the wheel. I told him that he must always have both hands on the wheel when driving, to which he responded, why should I when sometimes you don’t? Point very well taken, and lesson learned.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, trip and fall, construction accident, or is the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Bronx Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633. We offer a free consultation with one of our experienced trial attorneys to discuss your case in detail, and we will fight the insurance companies and their attorneys to maximize your compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings, past and future, and medical and hospital expenses.