Unfortunately, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, these same car crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths throughout the state. With the summer months in full swing, the grim news only gets worse: Texas has more summertime crash deaths involving teen drivers than any other state.
If you have a teenage driver, our Harris County personal injury attorney has a few tips to help keep your kids safe when they get behind the wheel — this summer and going forward.
Getting a Driver’s License is Only the Start of Your Teen Driver’s Future
Our experienced Houston car accident attorneys know that dangers are all around on our Texas roadways. While it is impossible to control the actions of other drivers, it is possible to instill in new drivers the safest ways to traverse our crowded roadways to help avoid accidents. It is important to remember, just because they pass their driving exam does not mean their driving skills will be perfect right away.
In fact, Teen Driver Source reported the overwhelming majority — 75% — of serious teen driver crashes are due to “critical errors.”
- Being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.
- Going too fast for road conditions.
- Lack of scanning to detect and respond to hazards.
The 100 deadliest days for teen driving fatalities occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when kids are out of school and enjoying the summer months with friends. Unfortunately, new teen drivers ages 16-17 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults.
It is important for parents to talk to their teens about being safe drivers, not only for their safety but for others as well.
Parents Must Insist on Safe Driving Behaviors and Establish Driving Rules
When your teenager gets his or her license, it is important that you ride along with them every time they drive until you are comfortable letting them drive alone. We know this is not the “cool” thing to do as parents, but it is impossible to know how well your teenage driver is handling pressures behind the wheel unless you witness their behavior.
When they are ready to get behind the wheel alone, insist on safe driving habits, establish driving rules, and enforce the consequences when they are not followed.
Parents can help their kids by:
1. Leading by example. If you are using your cellphone behind the wheel of your vehicle, your kids will, too. Be sure to set a good example by following all the rules of the road, including avoiding cellphone use while driving.
2. Monitoring their driving habits. There are multiple resources parents can use to monitor their kids’ driving habits, including apps and plug-in devices that will report speeding, hard braking, or swerving maneuvers that you can discuss with them later.
3. Insisting they do not have passengers until they are more experienced. Nothing is more distracting than a carload of teenagers. According to a study analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in one or more risky behaviors when traveling with multiple passengers increased to three times compared to when driving alone.
4. Talking to your kids about the inherent dangers of driving. We know that talking to teenagers may seem as if the conversation is going in one ear and out the other. However, it is important to relay to your kids that no matter how careful they are, negligent drivers exist everywhere. It is important to drive defensively, and to focus on the task of getting to their destination safely. Everything else can wait.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that parents never rely solely on driver’s education classes to teach their teens to drive. While it is a good start, driver’s ed should be used as just part of the Texas Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, like learner’s permits, exist to help teen drivers develop skills and experience before receiving their official license.
Contact us Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
At Charles J. Argento, our experienced car accident attorney in Houston hopes you or your teenage driver never need us. However, if your life is impacted by negligence on our Texas roadways, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 713-225-5050 or by contacting us online, so together we can pursue justice for your family.