Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
By Russ Wyatt
Those of us who have teenagers or pre-teens know that raising adolescents comes with a host of unique challenges. While some of these challenges are merely annoying, such as arguing about curfew or a teenager’s refusal to clean up his or her room, others have much more serious implications. Driving, in particular, is a big step for both teenagers and their parents, who can now add worrying about their child’s safety while on the road to their list of cares.
This concern is not without merit. The statistics along with my personal observations practicing car accident law have shown me that young drivers are responsible for a disproportionately high number of accidents. Although accidents happen every day, preparing your teen for the rigors and responsibility of driving before they actually get behind the wheel can go a long way towards keeping your child safe.
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Teen drivers commit more traffic citations and are hurt at a higher rate than any other age group, trends that are largely attributed to a lack of driving experience and participation in high risk behavior. For these reasons, teen drivers are only allowed to obtain a license after completing certain steps, including:
Risk Factors in Car Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of car accidents is higher among teenagers between 16 and 19 years old than among any other age group. In fact, research reveals that teenage drivers who fall within this age bracket are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over the age of 20.
Most car accidents caused by teen drivers can be linked to a lack of experience, which makes it much more likely that they will:
Although it is not possible to guarantee that your teen driver will not be injured in an accident, there are steps that you can take to help reduce his or her chances of being involved in a collision. For instance, spending time helping your child practice has been proven to significantly improve a teen’s driving skills. This type of training requires active participation from an adult guardian who should:
Many parents also find it helpful to enter into a teen driving contract with their children, which clearly states the consequences for breaking certain rules. A good contract will address safety and good driving skills, as well as:
Teen drivers are at a much higher risk than other age groups of being involved in an accident. While this may leave us anxious about the safety of our children, the reality is that the best way to help reduce their chances of being injured in a collision is to take an active role in teaching them not only the skills required when driving, but also the dangers that they may face.
Russell Wyatt is a Sacramento personal injury attorney whose firm The Wyatt Law Corporation, specializes in helping people who have been injured in a car accident. The firm is composed of a family of attorneys: brothers Russ and Peter Wyatt and father Raymond Wyatt. The Wyatts handle cases throughout Northern California.