Many parents and guardians of teenagers are not prepared when it comes
to their child getting behind the wheel. It can be a very frightening
time for parents and understandably so –
car accidents are in fact the leading cause of death in the U.S. among teens.
What Factors Put Teen Drivers At Risk For Car Accidents?
Teen drivers are four times more likely than adult drivers to be involved
in a motor vehicle crash. In addition, according to the Michigan Department
of Community Health, three out of five accident deaths for teens ages
16-20 are due to motor vehicle crashes. Why are teenagers at such a high
risk? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teens
are more at risk because:
- They are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations
or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
- They are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter distance
between the front of one vehicle to the front of the next.
- Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt
use. In 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear
seat belts when riding with someone.
- At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement
in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Preventing Injuries & Deaths Resulting From Car Accidents Involving Teens
So as parents how can you best protect your teenager to ensure they are
practicing safe driving practices, especially when you are no longer with
them in the car? This can be a difficult task.
As a resource, the Michigan car accident lawyers at the law firm of Goodman
Acker P.C. have provided a
guide with five essential tips to help parents transition their teens from
a passenger to a responsible young driver. These tips include:
Create Your Own Driving Rules: Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws gives you a head start in setting
driving rules. For example, in the State of Michigan the GDL consists
of two segments of driver education instruction and three licensing levels.
Throughout the licensing levels, there are restrictions such as when a
teen can drive and passenger restrictions. Once you review the GDL laws
for your teen, formalize them with a parent-teen agreement. Go over the
agreement with them, discuss the rules, establish sanctions andany other additional rules you see fit to the agreement. Make sure both you and your teenager signs
it. By setting up this agreement you establish a powerful statement that
teens understand: you control his/her driving privileges and consider
learning to drive a serious adult responsibility.
Be Relaxed When Your Drive With You Teen: This may be easier said than done, but the truth of the matter is teens
can pick up on nervousness and sense of worry. When you are not relaxed,
it can translate to them becoming defensive or having a fearful attitude
which then results in putting shackles in the learning process.
Do Not Criticize But Offer Help and Guidance: Teens are often extra-sensitive to what they perceive as criticism, especially
when it comes from a parent. Try not to get emotional over mistakes and
remember teaching a skill is most effective when you offer help and guidance
ahead of a possible error versus criticism. Also offering your own personal
learning experiences may be a great way to show them the importance of
Discuss Drivers Education Class: If your teen is enrolled in drivers education, discuss it with him/her.
Review study materials together and focus on what the class is teaching
each time you ride with him/her to make those ideas and practices stick.
Monitor Your Teen's Driving and Control Access to the Vehicle: After a teen passes their road test, they may want to drive everywhere
and anywhere. Keep control of the situation by setting specific rules
of when and where they can drive (update your parent-teen agreement mentioned
in tip one) and consider technology such as a GPS tracker so you can keep
track of where they are at all times.
At the personal injury law firm of
Goodman Acker P.C., our Michigan car accident lawyers have over 30 years of experience representing
auto accident victims. We see the outcomes of these tragic collisions
everyday, and while passing the road test and earning an Intermediate
license may be a joyous moment for a teen, as parents we have to ensure
that teenagers understand the responsibility they are undertaking when
they get behind the wheel.
Not only will following the above guidelines be a helpful tool when trying
to explain the responsibility of driving to teens but our lawyers also
recommend that you review Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing.
About Goodman Acker P.C.
Goodman Acker P.C. is a personal injury law firm located in Southfield,
Michigan. It represents motorists injured in all types of motor vehicle
accidents in the Metro Detroit area and throughout the State of Michigan.
The law firm offers a free, no obligation case review and represents its
clients on a contingency fee basis, which means no legal fees or costs
until the case is won or settled. For more information on Goodman Acker
P.C. or to learn your rights if you have been injured in a Michigan car
accident, call the law firm's office today at
(248) 793-2010 or use the firm's
online contact form.