As this is National Teen Driver Safety Week, all parents of teenage drivers, including Florida car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, remind parents to speak with their children about the importance of safe driving. Considering car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths for teenage drivers, with nearly 3,000 annually, in addition to the over 125,000 teenagers who suffer personal injuries in car accidents each year, parents need to take time this week to stress the importance of safe driving with their teenagers.
Topics parents need to discuss should include the most common causes of teenage driver accidents and injuries, to wit: alcohol use, not using a seat belt, texting while driving/distracted driving, speeding and having too many passengers in the car. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration considers these situations as the “5 to Drive” rules for safety. The ‘5 to Drive’ rules provide a clear and simple list for parents and teenage drivers to discuss and learn from, in hopes of avoiding a crash.
As summarized by the NHTSA, the “5 to Drive” campaign “5 to Drive” campaign rules are:
- No cell phone use or texting while driving
- No passengers
- No speeding,
- No alcohol, and
- No driving or riding without a seat belt.
The purpose of this simple list is to arrest the leading causes of teenage driving accident and injuries. Research indicates that nearly half of all passengers in teenage driving car accidents who lost their lives were not wearing a seat belt. Also, excessive speed was a cause in over one-third of teenage driving wrongful death crashes. And, although the legal drinking age in Florida is 21, dozens of teenagers lose their lives each year in alcohol related crashes.
As most parents know, peer pressure can be a negative motivating factor in poor choices teenage drivers make. Police departments report that when investigating accidents in which a teenager died and was not wearing a seat belt, that nearly all of the other occupants of that vehicle were also not using their seat belts. Also, the NHTSA knows that a teen driver is nearly three times more likely to drive in a dangerous manner when they have even one passenger in their car.
As we’ve previously commented, while most teenage driver car accidents happen between 3 and 8 p.m., reckless driving can cause a car accident and lead to a wrongful death any time of the day. While any parent of a teenager knows their young driver may be annoyed at constantly being told to drive safely, research indicates a consistent and constant message can help reduce the likelihood of a deadly crash – something with which everyone can agree.