As a parent, you want to keep your teenager as safe as possible. At the same time, you must give them some amount of freedom. When they get to the driving age, it can be difficult to know when to let them start driving on their own. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working to make it easier to make that decision. Keep reading to learn more and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident.
The NHTSA Suggests Teens Know 5 Rules Before Being Allowed to Drive on Their Own
The NHTSA has come up with five rules that all parents should ensure their teen drivers know before they are given access to the keys to the car. Remember that there are serious risk factors that can make teens in higher danger behind the wheel, including inexperience – but also including many preventable issues. Make sure that your teen knows and understands the following five rules before they drive on their own.
- You Cannot Drink and Drive
- Use Your Seatbelt Every Time You Get Behind the Wheel
- Do Not Drive While Distracted or Drowsy
- Do Not Speed
- Do Not Have Passengers
Of all the teens who died in fatal car accidents in 2016, one in five of them had been drinking at the time of the accident. Talk to your children and let them know that they cannot drive after drinking – even if they only had one drink. In California, it is illegal for a driver under the age of 21 to have any alcohol in their system at all.
The number one thing a teen can do to ensure that they survive an accident if they are involved in one is to buckle up. As the parent, you can encourage them to do so by setting a good example and buckling up yourself. Tell them that they must buckle up on even the shortest trips.
Teens cannot use their phones while driving – even handsfree devices. This is not only the law, it is essential for safety reasons. In 2016, 10% of teens who died in car accidents were reported to be distracted at the time of the accident. Likewise, driving while drowsy has been shown to be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Nearly one in three fatal teen car accidents involved a speeding vehicle. Speeding increases the chances that a person will be in an accident and increases the chances that an accident will be serious or fatal. Remind teens as well that speeding puts them at risk of getting an expensive ticket.
This may seem difficult to force teens to comply with, but the research is clear: The risk of a teen being involved in a fatal car accident goes up significantly the more passengers there are in a vehicle. When teens have several passengers, their likelihood of engaging in risky behavior is tripled.