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Top Tips from National Teen Driver Safety Week

As San Diego injury lawyers, we want to remind our readers about Teen Driver Safety Week. The national campaign aims to deter high-risk teen behaviors, such as speeding and distracted driving, that can often lead to tragic motor vehicle accidents.

As we have previously highlighted on this San Diego Injury Blog, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year olds in the United States. In 2014, there were 2,679 teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, and another 123,000 teens were injured.

One of the key messages of Teen Driver Safety Week is that parents play an important role in helping their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road. Studies have shown that teens of parents who establish clear rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes. Research also confirms that teens frequently mimic the driving behaviors of their parents, so it is imperative for them slow down, follow the rules of the road, and minimize distractions while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “5 to Drive” campaign provides parents with several useful tips regarding how to talk about safe driving behaviors with their teens. It also addresses the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors for teen drivers: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers. Below is a brief summary:

No Drinking and Driving. In 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences.

Buckle Up. Every Trip, Every Time, Everyone—Front Seat and Back. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in vehicles driven by teen (15-19 years old) drivers, and 59 percent of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. When the teen driver was also unrestrained, the percentage of those passengers who were not restrained jumped to almost 86 percent. Remind your teen that it’s important for everyone to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what.

Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers (15-19 years old) involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. But distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.

Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to drive within the speed limit.

No More Than One Passenger at a Time. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a San Diego motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. With more than 30 years of experience, we have the knowledge and experience to obtain the compensation that injury victims deserve.