Friday, June 21, 2013

Keep Your Teen Driver Safe this Summer: Eliminating Distractions to Prevent Teen Auto Accidents

It’s the official start of summer, and many children may already on vacation from school throughout Southern California, as well as most of the country. For parents of teenagers, one major concern associated with the season is their kids’ safety on the road. According to a May 2012 AAA report on teen drivers, the under-20 age group accounts for more fatal auto accidents per mile driven than any group other than above 80. Furthermore, the rate of accidents which result in injury to passengers and those in other vehicles is highest for drivers aged 16 and 17. The level of distraction of the driver is a major factor that determines motor vehicle safety in general. Other teenagers in the vehicle may interfere with the driver’s ability to stay focused on the road. The AAA study found that teens are more likely to be involved in a car crash if there are other passengers under the age of 21 in the vehicle. In addition to passengers, teens may be tempted to use their mobile device while driving. Under California law, no one may use a hand held device while operating a vehicle. The official government website for the prevention of distracted driving clarifies that in California, cell phones are banned for minor drivers, whether or not they are handheld or hands-free, if they are pulled over for another traffic violation.
There are steps parents can take to prevent their teen’s involvement in driving violations or even accidents causing injury to themselves or others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that parental involvement is key to preventing teen auto accidents. Parents are advised to enforce rules when it comes to their teenagers’ driving habits, including when and with whom they head out on the road. Make sure your teen driver knows the dangers of distracted driving and strictly prohibit the use of mobile devices while your teen is in the driver’s seat.