The National Safety Council is concerned about the risks associated with teen drivers. Many of them are inexperienced because they have not had enough behind-the-wheel driving. Teens are also easily distracted by passengers, cell phones, texting, and peer pressures.
• Every day – more than 10 young drivers age 15-20 are killed in crashes and another 745 are injured.
• About 25% of crashes killing young drivers involve alcohol.
• 39% of young male drivers and 26% of young female drivers were speeding at the time of their fatal crash.
• Although young drivers only represent 6% of all licensed drivers, they are the drivers in 16% of all traffic crashes.
Learning safe driving habits comes with time and practice. The National Safety Council urges all parents to familiarize themselves with the risks associated with inexperienced teen drivers. Drivers education programs help prepare teens by teaching them the laws, knowing how to make good decisions, and gives the general skills needed to get a license. They don’t help them with increasingly challenging driving skills. Driving is developmental. It is learned naturally by doing just like a toddler learns to walk. A toddler learns to walk while a parent holds their hand. Shouldn’t parents “hold the wheel” while a teen learns to drive? Isn’t there a greater risk if they have not mastered the skills?
It is proven that the more driving time behind the wheel, the safer the driver and the less likely to be involved in an auto accident. Parents need to take an active role in their teens driving. They should not rely solely on driver education classes to provide their teen with enough experience to be a safe driver. Driver education programs are too brief. Teens leave thinking they can drive because they “earned” their license. Many crash. Some die. Others kill. Completing driver education should be viewed as the beginning of the learning process. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws were implemented to help teens become more familiar with driving by gaining plenty of experience driving with supervision. They need to log a certain amount of hours before obtaining their license. Parents should enforce the elimination of distractions such as cell phones, texting, riding with passengers, listening to the radio, and rubbernecking.
To help parents take responsibility (maybe get some reminders themselves) and help their teens be safe, responsibly drivers, The National Safety Council has implemented the Alive at 25 program; Defensive Driving Course – Alive at 25 for drivers under the age of 25, and the Alive at 25 Parent Program. The program for young drivers focuses on helping teens not only regulate their own driving behavior, but also help them deal with the actual issues that can influence their driving behavior. The Parent Program helps identify the risks that teens face and help parents reinforce basic driving skills and good decision making to be safe, responsible drivers. As race car driver Sterling Moss said, “Practice makes perfect, but only if one practices the right things.” So let’s all practice NOT driving while talking on the cell phone, texting, and engaging in other distractions. Keep learning safe driving skills, be responsible, and let’s keep the pressure on to encourage others to do the same.
Lawsuit Financial strongly encourages everyone to not only help our young drivers become safer drivers, but to become safer ourselves. There is always something we can do to improve and be more responsible behind the wheel. Turn off the cell phone while you are in the car. If you don’t hear the ring or the “beep” for the text message, you won’t have the need to respond. Take a refresher course, such as Alive- 25 or enroll in a high performance driving school.
Sometimes though, even the most responsible driver may find themselves in an auto accident. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in an automobile accident at no fault of your own, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, loss wages, and pain and suffering. It is important to contact an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. If you need help finding an attorney, Lawsuit Financialcan assist you in locating a legal specialist in your area. Worried about paying bills and meeting other financial obligations? Lawsuit funding is a valuable service that offers a better solution than settling your case too early, for too little. And please, be careful out there.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.