National Teen Driver Safety Week begins Oct. 15th and the message for parents is pretty straightforward: It’s crucial to talk to your teenager about safe driving. In fact, talking to your teen about safe driving habits can make the difference between life and death. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that car accidents remain the number one cause of death among teenagers. In 2015 alone, 15- to 18-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes resulting in 2,207 deaths. During that same year, 99,000 teen drivers were injured in car accidents as well. Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous practice and leads to many RI car accident lawsuits.
How Serious Is This “Distracted Driving” Problem?
Distracted driving is reportedly the leading cause of car accidents involving teens. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tracked distracted driving among young drivers from 16 to 19 years old. While electronic devices do play a part in teen distracted driving, the top reason for teen drivers is distractions caused by their own passengers.
In order to prevent distracted driving, it is first important to understand what constitutes distracted driving. It is when a driver participates in an activity that is not related the actual operation of the vehicle. The top reason (about 15 percent) for all teen distracted driving accidents was passengers. The second highest reason was at 12 percent for texting and driving.
What Causes Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving includes operating mobile devices while driving as well as other equally distracting situations or activities. Here are some of the common causes of distracted driving among teenagers:
- Talking on a cell phone or texting
- Using a mobile device to surf the Web
- Watching videos or movies or using entertainment devices
- Using social media or taking selfies or streaming live video
- Grooming activities such as brushing hair or applying makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Partying in a car or talking to other passengers
- Reading a textbook or email while driving
What Are Some Driving Safety Tips for Teens?
There are several steps teens can take to make sure they are safe while driving. Here are just a few things parents can talk to their teens about:
- Use your cell phone only for emergency situations. Even then it is better to pull over safely to the right shoulder to make a call. It is better to stay away from hands-free devices, which can also cause you to miss important visual and auditory cues to avoid crashes.
- Pull off the road if you are drowsy. Drowsiness increases the risk of a crash by nearly four times. If you feel tired, don’t try to get home faster. Just get off the road.
- It is best to limit the number of passengers because the greater the activity in the car, the higher your crash risk. Driving with friends can create a dangerous environment because novice drivers are usually more focused on their friends than the road.
- Avoid eating while driving. Do your multi-tasking outside the car. Focus on the road and the drivers around you.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a distracted driver, an experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options. You may be able to obtain compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Call d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online for a free (no-obligation) consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.