A North Carolina man who is a professional drag racer lost both of his children to an auto accident in 2008, after his son was driving recklessly and lost control of the vehicle when swerving through traffic. The devastated father has turned his family’s personal tragedy into a campaign to help make teen drivers safer so that other families do not experience the tremendous loss his own family endured.
Car accident lawyers in North Carolina know that teens are, unfortunately, at great risk of becoming involved in accidents because of both inexperience and bad decisions behind the wheel. Programs like this aim to help give young drivers the knowledge they need to avoid becoming involved in a crash. Parents can also take an active role and the NHTSA has unveiled a new campaign called ‘5 to Drive’ that aims to reduce some of the riskiest teen driving behaviors.
Protecting Teens from Auto Accident Deaths
According to the Insurance Journal, around 6,000 teens are killed and 400,000 injured in car accidents every single year. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has identified key factors that lead to these crashes including driving while distracted, panic stopping, and loss of vehicle control.
With this advice from the DOT in mind, the grieving father developed a program called B.R.A.K.E.S., which is an acronym for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe. The program involves teaching teen drivers aged 15-19 who have a learner’s permit about avoiding these key dangers. The program also teaches accident avoidance and drop wheel/ off road recovery.
As part of the program, professional instructors including NASCAR drivers and police train 140 drivers each weekend. Parents must attend the classes with their teen, and as many as 10,000 kids will participate in the class this year.
For parents and families who live close enough to attend a B.R.A.K.E.S. course, going to the class could potentially save lives. Since not everyone can take the class, however, parents should also talk to their kids about how to be safer behind the wheel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new campaign is helpful for parents who want to do everything they can to encourage their kids to make smart choices. The campaign encourages parents to visit a special website set up as part of the ‘5 to Drive’ campaign to learn about the five key topics:
- Cell phone use / texting while driving.
- Having extra passengers in the car.
- Driving without a seat belt.
These five factors are contributing factors in many of the teen fatalities each year. Parents can talk to their kids about avoiding these behaviors and can set rules and guidelines with their kids to make clear that none of these behaviors are acceptable behind the wheel. Many parents will create a parent/teen driving agreement so that kids know exactly what they need to do in order to maintain their driving privileges. Even opening a dialogue with your kids, however, can help them to avoid taking dangerous risks.
By: Richard Flexner