Do you have a teenager in your household? You are likely beginning to answer questions about driving, if you haven’t already welcomed a new driver to the family. Colloquially, teenage drivers have a bad reputation for reckless and distracted driving. Unfortunately, the statistics corroborate the stories. According to the public interest site, DMV.org, “teen drivers crash four times more often than any other age group,” adding that “drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.”
Most teens (and their parents) want to enter this rite of age passage successfully, without suffering personal injury or causing injury to anyone else.
What can parents do to keep their teenagers and the Houston streets safe while teens learn safe habits behind the wheel?
Many parents have embraced technology as their best friends in promoting driving safety. For example, one family recently featured on Texas Public Radio uses an iPhone app called “Drive Pulse.” This app uses GPS to track the car’s location and monitor the car’s vital statistics, including refueling needs and erratic driving. It will even alert you if a serious collision has occurred. The information is made available to parents via the Internet in live time, versus older methods that require retracing steps after the fact. The article points out the benefit tracking offers to cities like Houston with a municipal curfew, in that it allows parents to know whether their teens will be able to make it home in time or not.
While GPS and other more sophisticated technologies, like Drive Pulse, may sound like a panacea for parents, many teens feel skeptical of “creepy” tracking methods. However, parents should be encouraged that the act of staying involved in boundary-setting encourages safe teen driving. From the TPR article above, Dr. Flaura Winston, who studies personal injury prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that, “Teens who say their parents not only set rules and monitor their driving but are also very supportive are half as likely to be in a crash…. [They are] 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated than teens with uninvolved parents. They’re also 30 percent less likely to use cellphones [while driving].”
Avoiding personal injuries and promoting safe teen driving are important family business. Parents who help their kids develop good habits behind the wheel nurture public safety.
If you are ever injured in a car accident with a teen (or any driver), contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for guidance.