5 Ways to Keep Your Teenager Safe on the Road
Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for many teenagers. So is the accompanying worry that many parents feel as their child gets behind the wheel.
It’s an important conversation to have; after all, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers aged 16-19.
How can you keep a new teenage driver safe on the road, particularly if you aren’t with them? We’ve rounded up the best tips to help parents address safe driving and set boundaries with their teens.
Practice Driving with Your Teenager.
Young drivers learn a lot from Driver’s Ed courses and studying for their state’s driver’s license exams, but practice shouldn’t stop the moment they pass the test. Instead, continue to ride with your teen driver.
This is easy to implement in your daily life. When you’re going somewhere as a family, let your teen drive. This gives them the opportunity to try new challenges–like parallel parking, driving in heavy traffic, or driving at night–while you’re there to help.
Remember that new drivers need to practice in every environment possible. If it’s raining, go for a drive!
If they’re just learning to drive for the first time – try a large, vacant parking lot. Teaching a teenager to drive isn’t so different from teaching a child to ride a bike.
Talk About Texting & Cell Phones.
Distracted driving is impaired driving. Cell phones are the biggest distraction of all, especially for teens. A national survey found that teenage drivers are more likely than any other age group to report using a cell phone while driving.
This is an area where the law is clear. Arkansas law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving. Texting while driving is always illegal for every Arkansas driver, but voice calls are also banned for teen drivers.
Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving, including voice calls.
Talk to your teen driver about the danger of using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Make it clear that no text message is worth risking their safety. It can wait.
Take a closer look at state cell phone laws: Cell Phone Laws in Arkansas.
Limit Passengers While Teens are Driving.
Passengers are another source of distraction for young drivers. Studies show that the presence of teen passengers increases the risk of collision for teen drivers. This risk increases with each additional minor passenger.
Discuss and agree on a limit to the number of friends your teen can chauffeur at a time.
You may have help from your state laws on this one. In Arkansas, there’s a strict limit on the number of passengers a teen may have: “No more than 1 unrelated minor passenger (under 21) allowed unless there is a licensed driver 21 years of age or older in the front passenger seat.”
Buckle Up, Teenagers!
There’s no substitute for wearing a seatbelt. Research shows that seat belt usage reduces serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50%.
Unfortunately, teens are the least likely to wear their seat belts when compared with other age groups. In 2017, only 6 in 10 high school students said they always wear a seat belt when riding as passengers. Parents, you can lead the way by buckling up every time you get in a car, and insist that every passenger does, too.
Additionally, discuss seat belt laws in your state. For example, Arkansas law states that if the driver has a restricted license, every passenger in the car must use their seat belt. Drivers, under the age of 18, fall in the “restricted” licensing category. And because Arkansas has primary-offense seat belt laws, police officers don’t need another reason to pull someone over. Breaking this law can leave you with a traffic citation and an expensive fine.
Sign a Safe Driving Contract.
When it comes to safe driving practices, we could on and on (and on). That’s why it’s so important that the discussion about safe driving is a continuing conversation. If you’re unsure about whether your teen is ready to drive, here are 5 More Questions to Consider.
Before you hand over the keys, discuss your expectations, and set clear rules. Consider putting it on paper with a “Safe Driving Contract” that’s agreed upon by both parent and child. The National Safety Council offers a free New Driver Deal to help you get started.
Questions? Call Taylor King Law.
“On your side – by your side” is more than a slogan. It’s our commitment to every client. At Taylor King Law, you’ll find an experienced team of 20 attorneys and more than 50 professional staff members. We’ve been serving our neighbors for more than 25 years.
Our practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle wrecks, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, wrongful death cases, defective products, and more.
Taylor King Law has offices located in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Springdale, Jackson (MS), and Arkadelphia.
Call 1-800-CAR-WRECK (227-9732) today or Contact us Online to begin your FREE consultation.