The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has recently attributed parental involvement as the most crucial factor in keeping novice or young drivers safe behind the wheel. Specifically, GHSA notes that parents play a significant part in helping teenagers maneuver their most dangerous driving years and avoid car accidents.
One way to do this is through a graduated driver licensing program (GDL). All states in the country have some form of this three-stage program. The program slowly grants privileges to teenage drivers during high-risk operation situations. This might include driving at night or with friends in the car.
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GHSA reports that the programs have decreased teen crashes by as much as 20 to 40 percent. However, parents enforce GDLs. The agency notes that when parents set driving rules for teens and regularly monitor their activities, young motorists are half as likely to crash; 71 percent less likely to drive under the influence; 30 percent less likely to use a mobile device when driving; and 50 percent more likely to use a seatbelt.
Parents that advocate safe driving practices are encouraged to enforce two main provisions of the standard GDL program: restrictions regarding nighttime driving and passenger limits. In addition to complying with GDL law, the GHSA offered the following tips for parents of young drivers:
- Parents should utilize a parent-teen driving contract. Parents can outline and set rules for their loved ones. The agreement can describe consequences for failing to comply with driving rules. For example, if a teen violates the rule of one passenger after sundown, perhaps a parent could temporarily remove a driving privilege.
- Parents should maintain an ongoing conversation about driving safety. Sometimes a friendly reminder can be helpful to teen drivers. Young motorists quickly feel “invincible” once standard driving techniques are mastered. Nevertheless, they should always be aware and reminded of hazardous practices.
- It also helps to attend a teen-parent driving program. Many sessions are free and provided at local schools or community centers. These programs can educate not only young motorists, but also parents, about current dangers of driving.
These tips can help enforce safe driving habits in a household.
While it may be difficult to be hard on your teen, the extra enforcement and oversight is worth it. Cars are dangerous, and inexperienced drivers often reap the consequences of careless driving in the form of a car accident.
If you or a loved one has been in a serious accident, contact a car accident attorney in the area. A professional can help direct you on what to do next.