Perhaps there are fewer times in parents' lives that are more worrisome than when their children learn to drive. After all, a child who can't remember to pick up his socks or won't take her eyes off her phone screen can hardly be responsible enough to drive the family vehicle at highway speeds.
Nevertheless, at this moment, thousands of teens are taking driver education courses, standing in line at the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles and receiving their first cars from proud parents. As cliché as it may sound, you are not safe when teenagers are on the road.
Behaviors that make teen drivers dangerous
One week every October is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of safe driving for teens. The most common cause of death among teenagers is injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Three times as many teens die in car accidents than any other age group. Promoters of Teen Driver Safety Week urge parents to use this time to speak with their kids about the most common dangers they face on the road. You may also benefit from understanding the reasons why so many young people are involved in accidents, including:
- Teen drivers lack experience to know how to handle situations that require split-second decisions.
- They may not have the maturity to calmly assess and react to changing circumstances or to resist peer pressure to drive recklessly.
- Teenagers are among the most easily distracted by their mobile devices and the music systems on their phones or in their cars.
- Young people often have their friends in the car who create a distraction or may misbehave.
- Teens are notoriously sleepy and may drive when they are too drowsy to safely operate a vehicle.
- Drivers between ages 15 and 20 often feel invincible, which causes them to take risks that place you and your family in danger, such as speeding, running red lights, or texting and driving.
Once a young person obtains a driving permit, he or she may feel powerful with newfound freedom. It is not uncommon for young people to drink alcohol before driving. This combined with the above factors is a recipe for tragedy.
If you were on the road when a teen driver lost control of his or her vehicle, you may have paid the terrible price. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to the reckless actions of a teen driver, you have the right to seek compensation. This may be a complex and delicate case, so having the guidance of an attorney may be in your best interests.