San Antonio Traffic Safety Watch: Teens Face High Risk for Summer Accidents

May 2013

With car accidents the leading cause of death for young people, it is imperative that all parents read the new GHSA publication: “Promoting Parent Involvement in Teen Driving: An In-Depth Look at the Importance and the Initiatives.”

The GHSA report indicates that kids who see their parents as authoritative are as much as 70 percent less likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Teens with authoritative parents are also 50 percent more likely to wear seat belts while driving and 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while behind the wheel. Our San Antonio, TX accident attorneys know that this makes a big difference in how safe teens are, especially as data shows that teens who see their parents as uninvolved are twice as likely to get into a car crash.

How Can Parents Help Teens to Avoid Accidents?

The best way for parents to help kids avoid car crashes is to understand the risks that young people face and to actively take steps to help your kids deal with those risks. According to the GHSA, some of the biggest factors that can affect whether a teen is safe while driving or not include:

  • Driving restrictions on teen drivers. In states with graduated licensing laws that impose practice requirements, limits on nighttime driving or limits on driving with passengers in the car, the risk of teen car accidents is reduced by as much as 20-40 percent. Parents should enforce not just legal restrictions imposed by the states but should also make their own rules about issues such as passengers in the car and drive time.
  • Teen seat belt use. Teens are less likely than other age groups to wear a seat belt every time they are in the car. Unfortunately, 58 percent of young drivers and 50 percent of young passengers killed in 2011 had no seat belts on at the time of the fatal car wreck. Parents should always require seat belt use. Parents should also buckle up themselves to set a good example.
  • Dangerous driving behaviors. There are three behaviors that account for around half of all accidents involving teen drivers. These behaviors are speeding, distracted driving and inadequate surveillance. Parents need to understand these dangers and make sure that teen drivers are aware of the risks.
  • Whether the teen is getting enough sleep. Drowsy driving is a major problem among teen drivers, with as many as one in seven drivers ages 16-24 admitting to falling asleep in the 30 days before taking a distracted driving survey.  Parents should talk to kids about drowsy driving and make sure that teens get plenty of sleep.

If parents are aware of these issues, if they set and enforce rules and guidelines and if they model good driving behavior, teens will be less at risk of dying from the leading cause of youth death. Not only that, but everyone else on the roads who could be hit by a teen driver will also be safer as a result.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

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