Teaching Teens to Be Responsible Behind the Wheel
One of the most exciting times in a teenager's life is when they get their driver's license. But for parents, who have spent years protecting children from the dangers of the road, the prospect of their teen now behind the wheel of a vehicle can be stressful.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a website for parents, Parents Central
, that provides information for parents on keeping their children safe on the road, from purchasing that first car seat to giving them the keys to the family car.
recommends setting ground rules for teenage driver. Outline the consequences for breaking those rules and have all this information on a contract that your teen signs. And the NHTSA recommends keeping that signed contract in a visible place as a daily reminder. The following rules should be standard on the contract:
- Absolutely no alcohol. Young drivers 15 to 20 years old are at far greater risk of death in crashes involving alcohol than adults of legal drinking age.
- Always buckle up – no excuses. In 2010, 60 percent of all 16- to 20-year-old occupants killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing seat belts.
- No talking or texting on cell phone while driving. Sending or reading a text while driving 55 mph is like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. In many states, it's illegal for teens to use a cell phone for any reason while driving.
- Have a car curfew of 10:00 p.m. Between 9 p.m. and midnight is when most nighttime fatal crashes of young drivers occur.
- No more than one passenger in the vehicle at all times (or zero if your state's graduate drivers law (GDL) doesn't permit any). In a study 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.
Not all drivers follow these rules. If you or someone in your family is injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver's negligence, contact
an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.