Any car accident lawyer in Dallas knows that teenage drivers face many risks when behind the wheel. Auto accidents are a leading cause of death for young drivers, and when kids travel in cars together with lots of passengers and no adults, the risk of an auto accident increases significantly. Because of the dangers of teen traffic accidents, Texas has passed graduated licensing rules to ensure that new drivers under 18 start with a provisional license and complete required drive-time behind the wheel with adults.
While graduated licensing and other laws aim to protect teens, accidents still happen. In fact, two Texas teenagers died and five more suffered serious injuries when the kids were involved in an early November car crash. Dallas News reports that the seven teens were driving in a car at around 4:00 a.m., though there were just five restraints. The teens went off the road and into a field, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Tragic accidents like this one show just how dangerous it can be when teens are in the car together. These types of crashes also underscore the need for parents to be heavily involved in making sure their children are driving safely.
Five Things Parents of Teen Drivers Should Do
Recently, the Traffic Safety Store highlighted some things that parents should do in order to make sure that their young drivers are safe. Based on information from The Governors’ Highway Safety Association and State Farm, parents are advised to:
- Communicate openly with teen drivers about obligations and expectations. A Parent-Teen driving agreement is a good way to get this conversation started and guide the conversation in a productive way to ensure you cover all important safety issues.
- Set a good example. Parents need to make sure they are modeling behavior that they want their kids to exhibit behind the wheel. This means going the speed limit, avoiding talking on a cell phone or texting, buckling up and otherwise being as safe as you can when you drive with your kids in the car.
- Know the risks. The biggest danger for kids these days isn’t drunk driving, but is instead texting and driving since more kids tend to use their phones on a regular basis behind the wheel. Parents should be aware of this especially dangerous behavior and make rules to try to prevent it.
- Drive with kids for longer than required. While Texas has a graduated licensing program, it can take as many as 1,500 miles driving in all conditions until a teen is equipped to be considered a competent driver. The more time you spend as a passenger with your kids driving, the more help you can give your kids to become good drivers.
- Using surveillance. You can install in-car cameras or use apps that track speed and abrupt driving moves like swerves.
- Enroll in an education course with kids. There are parent/teen drivers education classes that can be really helpful in helping parents to reduce the risk of teen accidents.
Hopefully, if parents become active in preventing teen driving crashes, future tragic collisions can be prevented and more kids can stay safe.
By: Tom Carse