While we’re helping our high school students across Southcoast, Southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island to pick out their tuxedos and prom dresses, or plan graduation and after-prom parties, let’s make sure to have some real conversations about the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis/THC. It’s important to emphasize that they should NEVER get into a car with a driver who is drunk or high. All too often the excitement of prom and graduation season is overshadowed by a tragic car accident resulting in catastrophic life-changing injuries or accidental death. These celebratory nights are supposed to be full of memorable good times that last forever. Educating our teen drivers can help to keep it that way.
Common Types of Distracted Driving To Avoid
Even for an experienced driver, driving on the busy roads and highways of Massachusetts and Rhode Island can be a challenge, so our new teen drivers need all of the guidance they can get. What can we do as parents and guardians to impress upon our teenage drivers that the privilege of driving comes with a greater responsibility than perhaps anything they’ve ever had control of? These are some of the most common examples of distracted driving to look out for:
- Smart Phones/Devices: Having lived their entire life with the presence of smartphones, tablets and other devices, today’s teenagers can hardly put the phone down for a moment because they’re excited to respond or are worried that they might miss something. This goes double during a night of celebrating with friends. Driving while texting, messaging, or even talking can be a deadly distraction. Let your teen driver know that it can wait.
- Passengers/Friends: For a new driver, being in a chaotic environment where everyone is talking, listening to music, etc. can take their attention away from the road and lead to tragic results. Tell your teen driver that it’s okay to ask their friends to respect their duty and responsibility as the driver.
- Drunk Driving/Driving Under the Influence: Though it’s illegal for people under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, teenagers are often surrounded by temptations and pressures from those around them to drink alcohol and consume cannabis/THC products. This is a problem in general, but when you pair it with driving a motor vehicle is becomes a MAJOR problem which could result in injury or even death.
- Drowsy Driving: Many teens keep a poor sleep schedule. Whether it’s staying up late catching up on studying or hanging out with friends, they often set the alarm to rush out with just enough time to get to school. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as any other impaired driving. Make sure that your teen driver knows to have a safe place to sleep for the night if you’re allowing them to stay at a prom or graduation party late.
Some Statistics and Facts On Teenage Distracted Drivers and Car Accidents
According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every five car accidents causing an injury is caused by a distracted driver, and 16% of all fatal automobile accidents also involved distracted driving. Driving in high-traffic cities like New Bedford, Fall River and Providence requires your teen’s full attention behind the wheel. Take a look at some facts from the NHTSA and the National Safety Council:
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 14 through 18.
- A teen’s crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers.
- Being in a car with three or more teen passengers quadruples a teen driver’s crash risk.
- More than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
Generally Good Driving Habits For Teens and Adults Alike
Never Speed: Speeding continues to grow as a factor in fatal car crashes involving teen drivers. A lot of emphasis is rightly placed on the risks of distracted driving or driving under the influence, but all too often in car crashes, speed is a factor. Follow posted speed limits, and drive cautiously in inclement weather.
Wear Your Seat Belt: It is important to set a good example and always wear our seat belts. Seat belts are a simple way to protect yourself and your passengers in a car crash, so let teens know that buckling up is mandatory and smart. Click it or ticket, seat belts do save lives!
- Drive Defensively: Teach your teen driver to be vigilant while behind the wheel. Assume that every other driver is a distracted driver and be ready to react to them to avoid a car accident
- Use Ridesharing: Fortunately, these days there are transportation options like Uber and Lyft to deliver people safely to and from destinations. Even if it’s a 15 minute ride away, the money is well spent to keep everyone safe and accident-free.
D+Z: Experienced Car Accident Attorneys In Massachusetts & Rhode Island
If you or a family member have been left with injuries after a car accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, please contact us to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. Dussault & Zatir P.C. has attorneys on call at +1-800-542-4LAW to answer your personal injury questions. We have a great deal of experience handling such cases and have achieved big, successful and fast results. We know what you are going through and what you need. With offices in New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton, Massachusetts, as well as an office in Providence, Rhode Island, if you’ve been injured, our lawyers are here to fight for you.
*The above is not to be considered as legal advice. Every case is different and the laws which apply may differ from state to state.
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