Back to school season is an exciting time for Atlanta families. But it's also filled with risk for high school students, as large concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers increase the frequency of traffic accidents in and around school zones. If your teen has been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your child may be entitled to compensation from a number of sources.
According to AAA, new teen drivers aged 16 to 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, in 2015, an average of six teenagers died every day from motor vehicle injuries. These studies corroborate decades of previous data which has established just how dangerous teen drivers can be.
But what, specifically, are the factors that cause this danger? And how can parents address these factors in order to reduce their teen driver's risk of having a car accident?
The Causes of Teen Driver Accidents
Passengers are a critical problem for teen drivers. The New York Times reports that adding one non-family passenger to a teen's vehicle increased the odds of having an accident by 44 percent. Interestingly, distraction was found to be highest when male teen drivers had male teen passengers in the car. Male drivers with female teen passengers drove more safely.
Distracted driving is another common cause of accidents, and one to which teens are particularly susceptible. Forbes reports on a Governors Highway Safety Association study which found teens to be the largest age group of drivers who were distracted at the time of an accident. While distraction is dangerous for any driver, is is particularly problematic for young, inexperienced drivers who are not always prepared to deal with obstacles in the road.
How To Keep Your Teen Driver Safe on the Road
The importance of parental involvement in safe teen driving cannot be overstated. It is critical that parents teach, enforce, and model good driving habits for their children - even those who are not yet of driving age.
- Establish and enforce family rules for distracted driving. Smartphones should only be used in the event of an emergency while driving. Texts can wait, and there is never a reason to access Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or other such apps while driving.
- Teens should also have clear rules for passengers in the vehicle. If parents allow their teen driver to have passengers in the vehicle, they must not be allowed to divert the driver's attention from the road. Music and other noise levels should be kept to a minimum.
- Ensure your teen has sufficient practical driving experience before he or she is allowed to drive on their own. Highway driving, nighttime driving, and driving in heavy traffic all require a unique skill set which parents must help new drivers develop.
- Teach your child to be particularly cautious in the area around their high school. High schools have high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers. Teen drivers should be prepared to respond to erratic movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic, and other hazards they will face at their school.
Georgia's graduated driver's license law, TADRA (Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act - also known as Joshua's Law), offers a three-step program to help teens gain more experience before giving them the privilege of an unrestricted driver's license.