Keeping Our Children Safe: Teen Driver Safety Week

When it comes to teenaged drivers, we often pay a great deal of attention to the “100 Deadliest Days,” which run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and forget about the rest of the calendar year. While it’s true that teen motor vehicle deaths spike during the summer by an average of 16 percent, danger exists the rest of the year as well. National Teen Driver Safety Week provides the perfect opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and discuss information that might otherwise be shunted aside during the heady days of summer, beach, and fun.

In 2018, National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 21 through 27, providing you with a valuable opportunity to give your teen important safety tips. Although talking with your children about safer driving can and should occur any day of the year, sometimes having a springboard topic such as a safety week can lead to a more natural discussion with your teenaged driver.

Too Many Children Are Dying

Too many of our teens are being killed in car wrecks. Motor vehicle crashes rank a dubious first among the causes of teenaged deaths, ahead of all other injuries, disease, or violence for those aged 15 to 18. During 2015, fatal crashes killed 1,972 teenaged passenger vehicle drivers. During that same year, approximately 99,000 teen drivers suffered injuries in motor vehicle wrecks.

Dedicated to educating teenagers about motor vehicle crashes, National Teen Driver Safety Week wants to find solutions that will reduce or even stop teen injuries and deaths. This annual observation is now in its eleventh year. It brings together parents, teens, law enforcement, schools, and others in an effort to reduce the No. 1 cause of teen death.

Why Is This Happening?

As you might suspect, driver distraction from cell phones and other devices remains at the top of the list. A new survey reports that one in three teenaged drivers text and drive at the same time. The number of teen texters may be even higher in states where teens are licensed at younger ages.

After surveying more than 100,000 teens aged 14 and up in 35 states, of those who had driven a vehicle in the previous 30 days, 38 percent stated they had texted while driving at least once. This finding held true even in states where text messaging for drivers under 21 was completely banned.

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Another study discovered that teens drive more dangerously once they are allowed to take the wheel without an adult in the car, even if they displayed caution while learning to drive. Dr. Kit Delgado, a trauma center emergency physician and an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, warned that “[s]tudy after study has shown that texting while driving remains an extremely common behavior in teens and other age groups despite all the attention and laws that have been implemented.”

What Will You Tell Your Teen?

It’s been discovered that “scaring young drivers straight” rarely works; such an approach often causes them to stop listening to your warnings. When you approach your teen about driving safely, keep the following points in mind:

  • Teens are smart and understand the risks. Instead of trying to frighten them, focus on the positive actions they can take to prevent crashes.
  • Remind them that any friends riding with them depend on them to drive safely, soberly, and distraction-free.
  • If your teen feels too tempted by their phone, remind them they can either place it out of reach or give it to a passenger.
  • Ask them to keep the volume and excitement level in the vehicle dialed back. Their full attention needs to be on the road and on traffic.

If your teenaged driver absolutely must use their phone or perform any other non-driving activity, such as eating or checking directions on GPS, remind them that pulling off the road to do so is their wisest and safest move.

We’re listening. How can we help?

At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we have devoted our practice to defending the rights of personal injury victims. We know how traumatic a serious car accident can be for both the injured person and for his or her family. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in any kind of car crash, you may be entitled to various kinds of financial compensation, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keep in mind, however, that there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims. If you have been injured in an accident, you should not delay. Call Steve today for a free initial consultation or use our convenient and confidential online form.