Handing the keys over to a teen driver is a milestone in both a child’s
and parent’s life. For children, it means more freedom and the ability
to hit the road and get to new places. For parents, it can be downright
frightening – and for good reason. Insurance companies know the
data on teen drivers, which is why premiums for newer motorists is often
higher, especially in faster cars. Statistics from the National Traffic
Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) also show that auto accidents are
the leading cause of fatalities among American teenagers.
Teens simply don’t have much experience behind the wheel, and are
more prone to making mistakes critical enough to cause accidents. As they
learn to conduct themselves as adults, they may also be prone to impulsivity
and other behaviors that can prove dangerous when they are operating a
At Shook & Stone, we have handled numerous
car accident cases for clients around Las Vegas and the state of Nevada since 1997.
These include cases where teen drivers were injured as the result of another’s
negligence and, unfortunately, cases where victims were harmed in preventable
accidents as the result of a teen driver’s mistakes and conduct.
If your son or daughter is learning how to drive or has just recently received
their license, it is critical to instill in them the risks and responsibilities
that come with driving a car. Driving safely and not posing unreasonable
risks to others on the road is a legal obligation for everyone who gets
behind the wheel, and you should speak candidly with your new driver about
how their decisions, and how negligence and careless acts, can have serious
repercussions on their lives and the lives of others. Remember, driver
education begins at home.
To help you better understand some of the most pressing risks for teen
drivers and how to discuss with your son or daughter what they need to
be aware of and avoid, we have put together the following list:
Distraction – Teens have grown up in a modern world filled with digital devices,
entertainment, and the constant lure of distractions. While using a cell
phone is perhaps one of the most well-known forms of distraction, all
types of distraction have the ability to led to accidents, as they take
can take a motorist’s visual, physical, and mental attention away
from the primary task of driving.
Distraction can be especially concerning for novice drivers who don’t have much
experience in various traffic situations. Make sure your teen knows that
driving should always be the primary task when they are on the road, and
that anything they feel they need to do can wait until they are safely
parked or out of their vehicles. These distractions include using digital
devices, adjusting music, conversing with passengers, eating or drinking,
and personal grooming, among others.
Texting and Cell Phones – Text messaging and cell phone use are the most concerning forms
of distraction for teens. Teens text frequently, and may feel compelled
to read or reply to messages when driving. Unfortunately, doing so substantially
increases crash risks, as drivers may not see their surroundings, be thinking
of something else, and / or be using their hands to operate a phone. Speak
with your child about the devastating repercussions of
texting and using a cell phone behind the wheel – it’s the cause of
thousands of injuries and deaths every year. You should also make sure
that they know it is illegal. Nevada prohibits handheld cell phone use
and text messaging for all drivers! Some tech companies have also developed
apps to help parents monitor and even prevent cell phone use by their
kids when they are driving.
Drunk and Drugged Driving – Driver impairment has long been a scourge on our roadways, causing
preventable injuries and deaths and devastating thousands of lives each
year. Your teen is not of drinking age, which means there are serious
criminal consequences if they are caught driving under the influence of
any alcohol or drug, including marijuana, prescription medications, and
even over the country drugs that impact their ability to safely operate
a vehicle. Speak openly with your child about the risks of
drunk driving and teach them that it should simply never happen. Even if your child
is under the legal drinking age, you should make sure they know of safer
alternatives, including designated drivers, taxis or rideshare services,
or even a call to mom and dad.
Speeding – Teens may lack the experience to accurately gauge their speed
or travel at a safe speed for given conditions. They may also enjoy the
thrill of going fast. Because speeding can be deadly, especially when
an inexperienced teen is behind the wheel, you need to teach your child
about driving at a reasonable speed until they feel comfortable approaching
the speed limit. You should also discuss certain situations that require
adjustments in speed, such as heavy traffic, poor weather and road conditions,
school and construction zones, and more.
Unsafe Risks – There are a number of mistakes teens make when it comes to unsafe
risks, and they all involve driving behaviors that elevate risks of crashes.
Theses include following vehicles too closely, braking too late, not giving
others the right of way, unsafe lane changes, and failing to scan their
surroundings when approaching intersections or making turns. Teens may
also be prone to making driving moves, such as pulling out into traffic,
when they are not fully aware if the coast is clear. Make sure your son
or daughter knows the risks and why it is so important to avoid them.
Even when your son or daughter takes the right steps to operating a vehicle
safely, accidents can still happen, especially if another driver or another
party is negligent. In these situations, our team of Las Vegas auto accident
attorneys at Shook & Stone can help you and your child understand
your legal right to compensation and how we can help you pursue a recovery
of damages through the personal injury legal process.
To discuss a recent accident during a FREE consultation, contact us today.