Fatal car accidents are the number one cause of death for teen drivers, and tragically, thousands of teens are involved in accidents each year that cause death or injury.
Our Greensboro accident attorneys have long stressed the importance of talking to teens about safe driving, but a new study has shed further light on one of the biggest risks facing teens: texting and driving.
The Car Connection reported on the new study, which was conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Alarmingly, the study revealed that 26 percent of teen drivers reported reading or sending a text message at least once every single time they were driving.
Parents Unaware of the Extent of Teen Texting and Driving
Despite the fact that so many teens reported that they send text messages on a regular basis, many parents are not aware that this risky behavior is going on. In fact, the Transportation Research Institute Survey revealed that only one percent of the parents polled believed that their teens were sending or reading texts behind the wheel.
The survey also found that:
- 69 percent of teenagers drive with between two and three friends in the car without adults. When a teenager has more than two or three passengers without adult supervision, the risk of the driver dying in an accident doubles.
- 44 percent of the teenagers who responded to the survey indicated that they drive regularly with at least three friends in the car. Having three teens in the car without adults can quadruple the accident risk.
- One out of every ten teenagers reported that they checked social media sites, including Twitter or Facebook, while they were driving.
These statistics are startling. They show that many parents simply don't know how many risks their teenagers are taking and they underscore the fact that teens put themselves and other drivers at risk on a regular basis.
How Can Parents Help
Our Greensboro accident attorneys have encouraged parents to talk to their teens about safe driving. However, this may not be enough- especially since so many teens text behind the wheel and their parents do not know it.
This leaves parents with the option of trying to enforce rules when they aren't in the car, and trying to make clear again and again the dangers to teens of texting and driving. Rules against this behavior should be strictly enforced and teens need to know that there are very real consequences, both in terms of the risk of an accident and in terms of limitations imposed by their parents if they are found to be texting and driving. Parents who are concerned can also make rules that the phone needs to be locked in the trunk or put in the back seat, and can even consider using devices to monitor teens in the car if they have reason to suspect that texting and driving is going on.
Parents should also make sure that they set a good example for teenagers. The same University of Michigan survey indicated that parents have a very strong influence on how their teenagers drive. If parents wear their seatbelts, drive safely and don't text and drive, there is a better chance that teens won't take unnecessary and dangerous risks when it is their turn in the car.
If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-800-887-1965 to speak with an accident lawyer today.
Talk To Your Teen About Safe Driving this Holiday Season, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 28, 2012.