Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, which is a sobering statistic for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. Inexperience, coupled with the fact that teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior like speeding and reading or sending a text message, make teens more likely to be involved in a severe car accident. Fortunately, you can do several things to ensure your teen driver understands some of the leading causes of car accidents and the steps they should take to avoid them.
What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers?
In Georgia, you have to be 16 years old to get a driver’s license. Unfortunately, many 16-year-olds are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of having a driver’s license. The following are some of the most common causes of car accidents involving a newly licensed teen driver:
- Inexperience: This is the number one cause of teen car accidents. Teen drivers do not have the experience necessary to maintain their driving speed while paying attention to other drivers in the vicinity and knowing how to react to sudden, unexpected hazards. This makes them more likely to speed and engage in reckless driving.
- Distracted driving: One of the most common distractions for teen drivers is their cell phones. Despite being taught that talking and texting while driving is hazardous, they are easily distracted by a text Snapchat notification or a phone call. Other common distractions include eating and drinking, putting on makeup, and interacting with other passengers in the vehicle.
- Risky behaviors: Teen drivers have often not yet developed the maturity to operate a motor vehicle. They also tend to feel as though they are invincible. This can lead to risk-taking behavior, including speeding, driving while impaired, and failing to wear a seat belt.
Keeping Teen Drivers Safe
While teen drivers can get their driver’s license when they are 16, their driving privileges are limited until they turn 18. When they reach their license at age 16, they may not be on the road between midnight and 5:00 a.m., with no exceptions. Only immediate family members may ride in the vehicle during the first six months. During the second six months, only one passenger under 21 who is not a family member may ride in the vehicle. After one year, only three passengers under 21 who are not family members may ride in the vehicle. Once your teen driver turns 18, they can have full driving privileges. These rules are in place to ensure that teen drivers gain experience behind the wheel with certain restrictions in place. As a parent, there are additional steps you can take to make sure that your child understands the responsibility of having a driver’s license and that certain behaviors can have very serious consequences:
- Talk to your teen. Discuss the responsibilities of having a driver’s license and that operating a motor vehicle requires their full attention. Talk about the risks of distracted driving and other unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and reckless driving.
- Set an example. If you consistently put your phone away while driving, maintain a safe driving speed, and follow the road rules, your teen is likelier to model that behavior.
- Set consequences. If your teen driver is caught texting or talking on the phone while driving, speeding, or breaking any other rules, consider suspending their driving privileges and ensure they understand why you are imposing the punishment.
Savannah Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Victims of Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our Savannah car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will conduct a thorough investigation, determine who is responsible for causing the accident, and ensure your legal rights are protected. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.