Teen Driver (Photo credit: State Farm)
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer for many of us. For teens, it’s one of the last few weekends before the school year ends and a few months of trips to the movies, amusement parks, and the beach begin. With our kids spending more time on the roads, it’s important to talk to them about safe driving. Few in Orange County can forget the tragic accident that claimed the lives of five teenagers last Memorial Day.
On that clear, sunny afternoon, a 17-year-old driver lost control of an Infiniti while speeding southbound on Jamboree Road in Newport Beach. The vehicle swerved across three lanes, crashed into the curb of the median and two pine trees, the impact sending it 10 feet into the air before it landed on the northbound side. The car was sheered in two, with each end facing in a different direction and the engine on fire. All five teenagers inside lost their lives.
The driver’s provisional driver’s license had expired two weeks before the crash.
Across the United States, traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Drivers aged 16 to 19 years have the highest average annual traffic violation and crash rates of any other age group, according to the DMV. Several factors contribute to their high accident rates:
Poor Detection of Road Hazards Risk Taking Due to Age and Inexperience Failure to Wear Seatbelts Lack of Skill Behind the Wheel Alcohol and Drug Use Increased Risk of Crash with Teen Passengers in the Vehicle High Crash Risk at Night
Talking to Your Teen about Safe Driving
After spending years protecting your kids in the car, now it’s time to hand over the keys and expect that they take the same care with themselves and their passengers as you have. Ensuring that they do will take some preparation.
Enforce Graduated Driver Licensing Laws: Immaturity and inexperience are the primary risk factors for teen crashes. These laws were enacted to give young drivers more time to learn the complex skills necessary to safely operate a vehicle under less risky circumstances. Enforce the rules.
Educate Teens at Home: Children are strongly influenced by their parents’ behavior. Set a good example-and rules-for your kids. Surveys show that teens whose parents imposed driving restrictions typically engaged in less risky driving and were involved in fewer crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Safe Summer Driving
We hope you found these tips helpful. If you’d like more suggestions for safe summer driving-both for you and your kids-visit the NHTSA’s Interactive Summer Driving Tips webpage.
What are your safe driving rules for your kids?
Want more information on teen driving, traffic safety, and civil law issues? Feel free to call us at 888-752-7474 or contact us online to request free resources.