Our children often require us to speak about difficult topics on matters of love, finances, and education. Still, there is one subject that makes every parent particularly nervous: driver safety. While many parents try to take a light-hearted approach to this subject matter, it’s still a quiet fear that lingers in our minds as our young drivers take the family car for a spin to the local mall without us.
Having a constructive and serious chat with our children about the importance of safety behind the wheel of a car is critical to their driver’s education training.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2400 teens died in car accidents in 2016, making auto crashes the No. 1 cause of teenage deaths. Florida alone had more than 17,000 auto crashes involving teens aged 15-17 years old in 2017. These harrowing statistics have several factors contributing to this high mortality and accident rate of young drivers, such as:
Underestimation of road hazards and dangerous situations due to immaturity
Speed and lack of appropriate stopping distance between the cars ahead of them
Driving during times of the day with increased traffic and/or environmental hazards such as night time driving
Lower numbers of teen drivers wearing seat belts
Alcohol has a stronger effect at any level in teen drivers, which increases accident risks
For many parents, finding a way to help their adolescent children develop safe driving habits might seem impossible. The stress of merely teaching a child how to handle a car on the road and trying to drill safety rules into their mind at the same time is difficult.
Try to remember these tips when teaching your child how to drive safely:
Be the driver you want your children to be by setting a good example.
Have confidence in knowing that you directly influence your teenager’s driving behaviors
Coach your child by acting calm and clearly explaining your expectations and consequences regarding their driving behavior
Educate yourself about the current facts around teenage driving statistics and licensing requirements
Always have an encouraging attitude with your young driver as positive reinforcement offers the best results
You should always remain involved in your child’s driving behaviors — even after licensing.
The hardest part about how to teach driving skills to teens involves staying focused on that information. Using similar slogans or mottos to regularly remind your child about the critical aspects of safe driving can help. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a teen driving campaign called the “5 to Drive” campaign that urges parents to frequently speak with their teenagers about rules to follow before going anywhere in their vehicles. This campaign recommends these five safety rules to talk about often:
Don’t drive with extra passengers
Always buckle up
Avoid distractions like cellphones and/or texting while driving
Follow the speed limits
Never drink and drive
While enrolling your child in a driver’s education course will teach your children the rules of the road, they won’t teach them everything or remind them of the rules once they graduate. It’s vital as a parent to involve yourself in driving lessons for teenagers, to promote good facts about driving, and to proactively address any potential issues you observe in their driving habits. Never hesitate to talk with your young driver.
In the event your child does have a car accident, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney right away. The state of Florida treats teenagers at fault for car accidents almost the same as an adult, and he or she may have liability assigned to them by the court. While parents also have a stake in the legal woes of their child’s accident, it’s vital that you protect your child’s driving privileges by hiring an attorney to defend their rights and public record.
Whether your child didn’t allow enough room to stop or had a distraction from an incoming text message, The Law Offices of McCullough and Leboff, PA is here for your family during this difficult time. We have 23 years of experience handling Florida court processes so you can make sure you have the best options available to protect your teenager’s future. Our skill as trial lawyers provides you with the experience and knowledge to build a strong defense against state prosecution. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.