In observation of National Teen Driver Safety Week, we urge parents to have a discussion with their teens about driving safety. Currently, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teens 15 to 18 years old in the U.S.
Common factors include alcohol or drug use, distracted driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and lack of seat belt use.
In August, we discussed the dos and don’ts for teen drivers involved in auto accidents, as well as the statistics involving drivers ages 16 to 20.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 6,964 road users ages 16 to 20 died in traffic accidents in 2006. That number is more than double compared to the previous year (3,374 deaths).
Additionally, the risk of a teen driver between the age 16 and 19 being involved in a crash is four times more likely than an adult driver.
Out of every 100 teen drivers:
- 37 will be cited for speeding
- 28 will be involved in a crash
- 13 will sustain an injury from a crash
- four will be cited for DUI
- one will be fatally injured in a crash
Why parents should be involved
Teen drivers simply lack the experience needed to take evasive measures to avoid a crash. Moreover, they can become easily distracted and are more likely to engage in risky behavior.
According to a 2006 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), parents should be actively involved in their teens’ driving. Conventional driving instruction don’t necessarily give teen drivers the tools and experience to stay safe on the road.
Parents can help their teens develop safe driving habits by gradually increasing the allowed distance and amount of traffic congestion teens can drive in. As they demonstrate more skill and maturity behind the wheel, they can be allowed more autonomy while actively being monitored and trained.
If your teen has been involved in an auto accident, it’s crucial that he or she takes these steps to secure their claim:
- Take pictures of the crash scene, if he or she is able to do so.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Talk to witnesses.
- If someone is injured in the crash, call 911 immediately.
- Always call the police so they can examine the crash scene and fill out an incident report.
After completing those steps, your teen will have to report the accident to his or her insurance company. However, it’s crucial to keep accident details to a minimum and not sign any paperwork or accept a settlement without first speaking to an experienced auto accident attorney.
Even if your teen’s injuries seem minor, it’s important that he or she seeks immediate medical attention. In far too many cases, a minor injury can worsen over time. Insurance companies are quick to sympathize and offer a settlement, but as medical expenses pile up, a settlement will often only cover a fraction of the total cost.
Contact the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. today and find out how we can help you.