An important text. A lead foot. A few too many beers during prom night. Friends arguing about which radio station to listen to. The reasons for teenage car accidents are many, but most of them boil down to too many distractions and too little experience behind the wheel.
Combine immaturity with 3,000 pounds or more of speeding metal and fiberglass and the chances of an accident increase dramatically.
Late hours and lack of sleep can contribute greatly to teen accidents. Drinking and drug use only adds to the problem.
It is one thing to handle a car on a dry road in the daytime, quite another to navigate an icy road at night when you’ve never driven in snow before. Some states require new drivers to log a certain number of hours in different conditions before they can take their road test to get a driver license.
A feeling of invincibility
Many teens believe it can’t happen to them. As a result, they take risks that older drivers have learned to avoid.
Poorly maintained vehicles
Many of the vehicles teenagers drive are smaller, cheaper cars with limited safety features or older vehicles that are poorly maintained.
Texting and driving statistics show that texting causes 1,600,000 accidents per year, 330,000 injuries per year, 11 teen deaths every day and nearly 25% of all car accidents (testinganddrivingsafety.com).
Massachusetts law prohibits operators of motor vehicles from manually composing, sending or reading an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle (G.L. c. 90, s. 13B).
In addition, no person under 18 years of age shall use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle (G.L. c. 90, s. 8L).
The good news is that many of the causes of teenage accidents are preventable. Here are some steps you can take to help your teen:
- Make a commitment to help your teenagers develop a responsible attitude about driving.
- Get them as much supervised driving experience as possible. Make a firm schedule with them and stick to it. Keep it up until they’re ready to take their driving test.
- Make sure they get into the habit of wearing their safety belt whenever they drive or ride – no exceptions.
- Limit their night driving at first. The risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night than in the day for every mile driven.
- Keep it slow and safe for starters. Have your teenagers avoid areas with heavy traffic until they can get enough supervised driving experience. Then you can gradually introduce them to more difficult driving situations, like highway driving, merging off ramps and driving in cities.
- Instruct your teenager to turn off their cell phone while driving a car or, if necessary, take the cell phone away before they get behind the wheel of a car.
Helping your teen gain the experience they need to be safer on the road gives you and them peace of mind.
If you or a loved one were in an auto accident, contact Attorney Bob Allison now for a free consultation by calling (978) 740-9433 or filling out our free consultation form. In addition, you can obtain more information about car accident claims by ordering our free book.