Our Pennsylvania accident attorneys understand that the day your teenager receives his or her driver's license is a milestone for that young person as well as for you as a parent.
But the very real danger that teen drivers pose to themselves and the people with whom they share the roads means a parent's responsibility for a child's transportation is far from over once that teen gets behind the wheel.
Consider the April 2015 motor vehicle accident in Camden, Del. that sparked a chain of events leading to a daycare center fire in that town.
First, according to philly.com, a 16 year old rear-ended another driver. Then, the teen's vehicle swerved off the highway and smacked into a utility pole, which caused a power surge to spark the daycare center emergency and turn off the entire town's traffic lights.
Police said the teen was ticketed for distracted driving and failure to produce proof of insurance.
Teen driving and accident statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further illuminate the problem:
- Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of teen fatalities in the United States.
- Teen drivers are three times more likely to be in a car accident than drivers who are 20 or older.
- Teens and young adults comprise about 14 percent of the country's population but account for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of the overall costs caused by auto accidents.
The good news? There are proven strategies to keep teen drivers safe, and parents are the best people to reinforce these defensive driving skills.
In addition to modeling rigorous seatbelt use, parents need to make sure teens, who tend to think themselves invincible, wear seat belts and understand that doing so diminishes their chance of dying in a car crash by about 50 percent.
Parents also need to assure teens that while underage drinking, and especially drinking and driving, is never okay, if their teenager does drink or end up in a car with someone who drank, that teen can call mom or dad -- no questions asked -- for a safe ride home.
Finally, young drivers must be well aware of the most common reasons that teens are in car accidents, according to the CDC. They are:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
If you, your teenager or another loved one is involved in a motor vehicle accident, our Pennsylvania injury attorneys can help. You can reach our offices online or by telephone at 215-772-1000 or 800-243-1100.