Most young people savor the day when they pass their Arkansas state driving test and get their first taste of the freedom that is being able to drive.
But at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar, located in and around Little Rock, we aren’t just accomplished Arkansas car accident attorneys. We’re also parents. So our auto accident lawyers think it’s important to alert parents and their teen drivers to the many road dangers present when young people get behind the wheel of a car.
If this is an issue that’s also important to you and your family, please read more about our Safe Arkansas Scholarship Video Contest.
Or, to reach one of our attorneys after a serious car accident in Arkansas, please contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar online or by telephone for a complimentary case consultation at (888) 220-7068.
Teen Driving Hazards
In Arkansas and nationwide, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s what else car accident experts say about teenagers and car accidents:
- Although young adults (defined as age 15-24) make up only about 14 percent of the American population, they account for nearly 30 percent of all car accidents.
- The car accident danger among young adults is most pronounced and relevant to the 16- to 19-year-old age group. Drivers this age are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers who are age 20 and above.
- Among all teenagers, those who present the greatest car accident danger are male drivers; teen drivers who also have teen passengers in their car; and teen drivers who only recently secured their driver’s license.
Here are the most common causes of teenage driving accidents:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
Summer Driving Tips for Teens
As a teenager, you may find yourself spending more time behind the wheel during the summer months when school is out. Doing things with friends and experiencing the world around you is something most of us looked forward to when school got out. It’s an unfortunate fact that teen drivers are involved in a significant portion of auto accidents nationwide. Inexperience, distracted driving and impaired driving are just a few of the factors that come into play when teens get involved in accidents. But there are things you can do to keep you and your friends safer on the road:
- Silence your phone and place it out of sight
- Speak up if you are a passenger and the driver is driving in an unsafe manner
- Always buckle up, no matter who you’re with
- Obey posted speed limits
- Never drink and drive
- Never drive under the influence of illegal drugs and certain types of prescription medications
By doing these things, you will be avoiding some of the most common reasons teen drivers get involved in car accidents.
Three Strategies to Prevent Teen Driving Accidents
The good news is that there are proven strategies that parents and educators can employ and endorse in order to help keep teenagers safe on the roads.
- Teen Accident Prevention Tip No. 1: Insist on Seatbelts. Of the teenagers who die in car accidents, the majority of them are not wearing seatbelts. Studies show time and again that seatbelt use reduces car accident injuries and fatalities.
- Teen Accident Prevention Tip No. 2: Never Drink and Drive. It’s naive to think that teenagers will avoid alcohol simply because they aren’t legally allowed to drink. A teenager should always know that a safe ride is as close as a phone call.
- Teen Accident Prevention Tip No. 3: Take Drivers’ Education. Driving is a skill and like any other requires practice and training to master. Lack of driving experience paired at poor decision-making can be a recipe for disaster for a teen driver. Research indicates that teenagers who do take drivers education are about 40 percent less likely to be involved in a serious car accident.
Choose the Right Car for Your Teen
My 15 year old son obtained his driving permit last year and now has a restricted drivers license. He thinks we should get him a car. Despite his repeated requests, I have no plans to get him a car. He will undoubtedly read the title of this post and assume I have been bluffing and will be getting him a car on or after his birthday. If so, he is going to be disappointed. I am writing this blog simply because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published a list of recommendations for parents to consider when buying teens a car at this website. The recommendations are important and all parents who are considering buying a car for their teens should be consider them. Consumer reports also published this article in February 2014 listing the best cars for teens.
Some parents buy a car for their teen. Others pass along one of their current cars to the teen. Almost half of car purchases for teens are cars that are 2006 models or earlier. Two-thirds of the time parents pass along one of their current cars to teens, the car is a 2006 model or earlier. Older cars have fewer safety features like side airbags and electronic stability control (ESC). ESC is a very important feature for teen drivers. I will write a future blog post on just that subject, but ESC is as significant as seat belts in reducing the risk of injury. ESC became standard equipment with all cars in 2012. If you purchase or pass along a car that is older than a 2012 model, find out if it has ESC.
Another factor to consider is the type of car. Generally larger cars protect passengers more than smaller cars, but that doesn’t mean purchasing a SUV or large pickup truck. Their high centers of gravity make them prone to rollovers with inexperienced drivers. Also, no mini cars or small cars made the IIHS list of safest cars because of their lack of protection in a car accident.
Finally, buy smaller engines. Consumer reports doesn’t recommend any vehicle with a 0-60 acceleration time faster than 8 seconds and high-horsepower should be avoided. And even for those cars on the recommended safety list – avoid their higher horsepower models. The base engines usually have more than enough power for teens. Smaller engines equals fewer car accidents.
This coming school year when I am dropping my son off I hope to see all of his friends driving safe cars.
If your teenager is involved in a serious car accident in Arkansas, please can contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar online or by telephone to schedule a complimentary case consultation: (888) 220-7068.