Even though graduated licensing and awareness campaigns exist to alert teens of the dangers of drunk driving and other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, statistics show that many Florida car accidents involving teens are still highly preventable. In many cases, these accidents are caused by teens who speed, drive distracted, or drive drunk. Even though teens may know that such behaviors are wrong, they sometimes still engage in these behaviors.
Experts believe that lack of driving experience, emotional immaturity, and a belief that dangerous behaviors won’t result in serious consequences ensure that teens still engage in risky and dangerous driving. According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other advocacy groups, it is important for parents to sit down with their teen drivers to discuss dangerous driving. These discussions should include:
1) Set rules. It is important for parents to set rules with their teens. Rules for teen drivers can include things such as “no drinking and driving,” “no cell phone use of any kind while driving,” and “no more than two passengers at a time” can be good places to start.
2) An explanation of how dangerous reckless driving can be. Even though teens may have heard about the dangers of using a cell phone, drinking and driving, and speeding, they need to hear about these things from their parents, too. Keep in mind that many teens feel “it can’t happen to me,” which is why they go ahead and engage in risky behaviors. As a result, it is important to show how Florida car accidents can happen to them. Show them graphically what can happen in an accident – have them chat with Florida burn injury victims or others who have been injured in an accident. Contact your local MADD chapter and law enforcement – they usually have community liaisons and educational materials you can share with your teens. Strive to make the dangers of car accidents real.
3) Repetition. It’s a message that is worth repeating. The more often your teen drivers hear about the dangers of speeding, distracted driving, and drinking and driving, the more likely they are to take the message seriously. Have more than one talk with your teens and arrange for MADD or local law enforcement to visit your teen’s school.
4) Consequences. Make sure that you discuss the consequences for your teen driver speeding, driving drunk, or driving distracted. Make it clear what you will need to do in the event that your teen does decide to drive unsafely. Your teen should know that there are consequences to dangerous driving – even when it does not cause an accident.
5) Options. Give your teen options to driving unsafely. For example, make sure your teen knows that they can always call you (and preferably a few other family members) to get a safe drive home when they need it – no questions asked. Repeat the message often. If your teens know that there is a safe alternative and there will be no punishment, they are more likely to make the safer choice.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida car accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation to discuss your case. It’s the ideal way to learn your options and to ask questions. With law offices in Hollywood, Miami, and Homestead, the Flaxman Law Group serves car accident survivors throughout Southern Florida.