Car accidents are the leading cause of death for young Americans between age 16 and
20, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In 2012, 2,055 teen drivers were involved in fatal accidents nationwide,
and 855 of those drivers were killed. Here in Missouri, 136 people were
killed and over 12,800 were injured in crashes involving teen drivers,
according to the
Experts say teens are more likely to be involved in injury accidents because
of several behaviors that are common in young drivers, including inexperience
combined with speed; distracted driving (involving cell phone use, passengers,
etc.); inexperience combined with nighttime driving, and driving under
the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What can parents do to keep their teens safe on Missouri roads? Insisting
on seat belt use is a basic - yet essential - place to start. "Nearly
eight out of ten teens killed in Missouri vehicle crashes over the last
three years weren't buckled up," Leanna Depue, chair of the Missouri
Coalition for Roadway Safety's executive committee, told the Missouri
Department of Transportation. Teens were also involved in almost 20 percent
of fatal and serious injury crashes statewide over the last three years.
National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 19 -25) is approaching. In that
spirit, our car accident lawyers would like to share a few tips to help
parents promote safe, responsible driving.
Encouraging safety: Tips for parents of teen drivers
Be clear and firm about your expectations. Make sure your teen drivers understand what the rules are - and what consequences
they face, should those rules be broken. Also, take some time to explain
why those rules are in place. Many parents find a teen driving contract
is a useful tool, as it gives you the opportunity to actually spell out
the rules in writing. A teen driving contract can establish clear boundaries
related to seat belts, cell phone use, curfew, passengers and alcohol
or drug use.
Be responsive and respectful. When you discuss safe driving with your teen, make sure he or she understand
that "safe" is the operative word. Teens are more likely to
honor boundaries when they understand you're trying to keep them safe,
not control them. Also, remember to listen when your teens have questions.
If you want them to take your concerns seriously, extend them the same courtesy.