Parents who love their children and want them to succeed can and should do their part to foster safe driving habits. It's a sad fact, but motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 15-18 year olds in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The idea of your kid's first trip behind the wheel can be really nerve-wracking, but by talking about safe driving behaviors early and often, you can set them up for success in this important part of their young adult life.
Reaching the End of the "100 Deadliest Days"
AAA refers to the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 deadliest days because of the high rates of fatal accidents that occur over the summer. Over the last 5 years, about 3,500 people have died in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers during this summer period. Through no fault of their own, teen drivers have less experience behind the wheel than their adult counterparts, so they may not know what to do when hazards or unexpected situations arise. They may also be more susceptible to poor judgment, which may manifest as drinking and driving, or texting. Combine these realities with the fact that teens have more time in summer to drive around, and the elements for an increase in crashes are present. AAA says accident fatalities involving teen drivers have historically spiked during these 100 days, and the top contributing factors are:
- Drinking and driving
- Distracted driving
About two-thirds of injured or killed victims in car accidents involving teens are not the teen behind the wheel, says AAA. That means most of the time, the person who suffers an injury is someone in the other vehicle or a passenger in the teen's car.
As summer wraps up and your student embarks on a new school year, perhaps you can enjoy a sigh of relief. This time period that AAA describes as dangerous is coming to an end, but that doesn't mean you should stop educating your teen about how to prevent car accidents.
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers Headed Back to School in Boulder
Don't stop teaching, talking about and modeling good driving habits. Lay down the rules:
- No speeding
- No driving after any amount of alcohol or drugs (which, of course, is also inherently dangerous and also illegal for them to use)
- No driving while drowsy
- No texting or cell phone use behind the wheel
- Buckle up every trip, every time
- Take only passengers that they have informed you about ahead of time (limit it to 1 passenger allowed. More passengers tend to cause distraction)
Your teen should know what the consequences are for violating one of these rules. Let them know what the criminal penalties are if police catch them speeding, drunk or drugged driving, or texting behind the wheel. Doing these things could spare them the horror of a serious car accident. If your teen will be driving themselves to school for the first time this year, it's critical to remind them of the rules regularly. Although summer is drawing to close, the school year has its own hazards for teen driving, such as morning and afternoon traffic, kids on the road getting on and exiting the bus, early-morning driving when they may feel drowsy, etc.
Why Attorney Chris Jeffress Cares How You Drive
Since 1994, Chris has been advocating for victims of personal injury by pursuing maximum compensation for his clients. As a fellow Boulder resident, he cares about reducing car accidents and injuries in our region. He has seen how serious these injuries can be – how they turn people's lives upside down. And he knows how critical a monetary award is to your ability to pay your medical bills, replace lost wages, and get on the road to a full recovery.
Chris offers a complimentary consultation so that you can talk to him about your car accident in Boulder, Longmont or the surrounding areas, risk free. For your case evaluation, please call the law firm at 303-732-6634.