Are you planning to buy your teenager a car on their 16th birthday? When teens turn 16, they begin to desire a car of their own because being able to drive makes them feel independent. In most states in the US, the minimum age for unsupervised driving is 16. If you are indeed planning to get a car for your child (or allow them to drive yours), do bear in mind that according to the National Safety Council, auto accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the US.
A lot of parents refrain from giving their teenage children their own car but allow them to drive the family vehicle. In both cases, the risks remain the same. Because teens are not adults and lack the experience of adult drivers, they often lack the basic sense of responsibility that driving requires. The auto accident attorneys at Roberts Law Office believe that before allowing your child to drive a car, they must be given the basic education on road safety and responsible driving.
Causes of Teen Auto Accidents
There are a number of common causes for teenage car accidents, and most of them involve recklessness. The five major factors that contribute to teenage car accidents are:
- Inexperience: Teen drivers do not have enough experience driving on the road, and cannot recognize or protect themselves from dangerous situations. Cars with teen drivers have a high crash risk, risking damage to both the driver and the vehicle.
- Distracted driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15% of all teenage car accidents happen because of distracted driving. It involves any activity that takes eyes and minds off the road, from eating to talking on the phone to listening to the radio or texting.
- Not wearing seatbelts: Teenagers are known to have the lowest rate of seat belt usage compared to adults. In a recent survey, only half of the participants said they always wore a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt can prevent fatalities in a car accident.
- Drinking and driving: Inebriated driving is a classic manifestation of teen irresponsibility. Driving in an intoxicated state or riding with an intoxicated driver are both extremely dangerous. Even the most experienced drivers are prone to danger in an inebriated state.
- Speeding: Driving at high speed might seem to be fun, especially when you are a teen driver, but there are dangers galore. If you are not stopped by a police officer, speeding is always likely to result in a crash. Depending on the nature of the high-speed crash, it could be fatal.
Safety Precautions for Teen Drivers
Even before teens begin to drive, they need to be educated on road safety and the dangers of reckless driving. This is the responsibility of the parents. Teenagers do not consider the long-term effects of reckless behavior, but as parents, it is your duty to ensure the safety of your child. From learning to follow road safety rules to avoiding texting or talking while driving to wearing the seat belt always, teens have a lot to learn before they can get behind the wheel. Being a safe driver from the beginning will ensure a clean driving record throughout.
If you need assistance with a motor vehicle accident claim, get in touch with the motor vehicle accident attorneys at Roberts Law Office in Lexington today.