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 certain practices.
- 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) 286-8100 or use the firm's online contact form.