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How Your Teen’s Independence Can be Contributing to the Risk of Car Accidents

For many teens, a driver’s license is a sign of independence. However, the CDC lists driver independence as the leading cause of the estimated 2,300 teen driver fatalities sustained in 2015 alone. According to the CDC, parents play a crucial role in teen driver safety.

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It comes down to more than you being a role model. There are several things you can do to ensure your child doesn’t have so much independence that they are at risk of a Hollywood traffic accident:

1) Make sure your teen gets adequate experience in the car. Before letting your child drive their car, make sure that he or she has enough experience and skill with driving to operate a motor vehicle safely. Many driving instruction classes only require students to get a limited number of hours of on road practice and in some cases there may be multiple student drivers in the car at once, meaning students don’t get lots of one-on-one attention from a professional instructor. Practice driving with your child or get some additional driver instruction to make sure they’re safe on the road.

2) Give driver privileges to your teen gradually and take them away if your teen is not ready for driving responsibility.  Even if your teen is a licensed driver, they’re still likely a minor and therefore your responsibility. Don’t just let them drive wherever they wish. Set limits to driving and allow your children to gain driver privileges gradually. For example, you may initially insist that your child only stay on the road for a specific period of time and you may gradually increase that time as they show they are responsible with the car.

3) Drive in the car with your teen. Driving with your teen has been shown to reduce risk-taking behavior. When you drive with your teen driver in the car, your teen is likely on their best behavior, which is a great way to foster good driving habits. When you’re in the car instead of teen passengers, your teen is also statistically less likely to take risks and statistically less likely to be in an accident.

4) Limit teen passengers and night driving. Teen passengers increase the risk of distracted driving accidents, as does night driving. Let your teen ease into these kinds of higher-risk driving situations gradually.

5) Sign an agreement with your teen, making driving rules clear and listing consequences for breaking the rules. Make sure each of you agree to certain conditions, such as no texting and driving, and create clear guidelines. Your teen driver is more likely to make smart decisions if everything is laid out for them and you have discussed their options ahead of time.

If your child has been injured in a car accident, contact a Hollywood car accident attorney by contacting us at Flaxman Law Group. Your initial consultation is free, so you can get legal advice and opinions to protect you and your family.