School is out for the summer and teen drivers are spending more time behind the wheel. Recent studies indicate teen drivers engage in more risky in-vehicle behavior during the summer months, which likely accounts for the increased number of fatal car wrecks during the summer. According to the NHTSA, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. It is important for parents to set safe driving rules and pay attention to their teenager’s activities. As a Georgia personal injury lawyer that has seen too many tragic collisions, here are seven basic rules:
1. Never send text messages or talk on a cell phone while driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving distracts the brain and reduces your reaction time. Using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a crash twice as much as driving drunk.
2. Always buckle up. Approximately two thirds of teen drivers killed in automobile collisions were not wearing seatbelts.
3. Slow Down! Speed is a factor in 40% of all teenage driver fatalities.
4. No Piling In. Teens are more likely to drive with three or more passengers in the summer. The incidence of teen driver fatalities goes up 50% with the first teen passenger and increases with each additional passenger.
5. Limit Nighttime Driving. States with after dark driving restrictions report a 60% reduction of nighttime fatalities. This includes instructing your children to never drive while sleepy.
6. Pay Attention. Know where your child is going and why, and discuss how they will get there and when they will get home. Have them report in every time they arrive at a new location.
7. Lead by Example. Follow these same rules. Your teen driver is less likely to obey these rules if you use the cell phone while driving or forget to wear your seatbelt.