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  • Teen Car Accidents

    Parents can help their teens be better drivers

    Teen car accidents are down according to national statistics. But if you are the parent of a teen driver, you need to know that the odds of them being involved in a car accident are about one in six. The death rate for teenagers involved in car accidents is even higher.

    While death rates are dropping steadily due in part to graduated driver programs and longer temporary permit requirements, the leading cause of death for teens, ages 15-19, is still teen car accidents. These statistics would frighten any parent.

    Before 1998 most accidents involving teens was related to excessive speed. Today, distractions while driving are increasingly the cause for teen car accidents. Using cellular phones while driving, additional teen passengers and habits learned from parents such as attempting to beat a changing light have become more prevalent.

    The amount of time your teenager drives also affects their chance of being involved in a car accident. Newly-licensed teenage drivers who spend lots of time on the road are more likely to be involved in a car accident than those whose drive time is limited.

    Teen drivers who are not permitted to have more than one teen passenger are also less likely to be involved in an accident.

    Some parents of teen drivers are installing specialized equipment that transmits information about how their teen is driving to the parents' computer or cell phone. While this may not prevent a teenager from being involved in an accident it will alert parents to driving habits that are more apt to cause an accident.

    There are devices that can prohibit certain speeds and lock the vehicle down should improper driving occur.

    Education for teen drivers is more comprehensive and tied to graduated licensure programs. This and other teen driving programs have helped to drop the death rates for teen drivers by over 7 percent in the last ten years.

    Here are some additional tips to help your teen become a safe, conscientious driver:

    Provide your teen with proper driving habits.

    Do not tailgate, attempt to beat traffic lights or speed. Children learn many things from their parents including how to drive.

    Encourage your teen to learn the rules and regulations and the consequences for violating the rules for your state.

    Each violation has a penalty. Study the traffic laws for your state and what the penalties are for breaking those rules.  Teen drivers are subject to different penalties than adults. In some states having 2 car accidents can result in the loss of their driving privileges for up to a year.

    Discuss ways to help your teen driver accept responsibility for their own vehicle and insurance. Students who achieve high grades receive discounts from most insurance companies. Some parents share these discounts with their teen driver. Incentives are a healthy way for parents to encourage safe driving habits.

    Parents who talk to their teen driver about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are less likely to have their teen involved in a DUI offense.

    Parents who set strong consequences for such offenses have more success than those who do not. Teen drivers involved in drug and alcohol accidents accounts for 40% of all teen car accidents.

    Parents who ride with their teens reduce their teens overall accident rate. Additional driving practice with a seasoned driver may account for part of these rates. Teens, whose parents ride with them, are able learn methods of coping with difficult driving decisions thus reducing them being one of those teen car accidents.

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