24 Jul Keeping Teens Safe behind the Wheel
At Colorado Accident an injury, we believe that a multi-faceted care center for any injury related to a car crash can make a critical difference in supporting a healthy recovery for any crash victim. Needless to say, are also strong advocates for automobile safety, promoting safe driving and safe travels for everyone.
We are also aware that teenage drivers are disproportionately involved in car accidents and accident fatalities, which accounts for the special rules the state has for younger drivers. Still, defensive driving includes more than just following the rules. It is important to target the actual behaviors of teenagers that can increase or decrease their odds of being involved in an automobile accident.
Teenagers are teenagers. They are not yet seasoned drivers with lots of experience who have had a small fender-bender or two to remind them to be extremely vigilant every time they drive a car. Teenagers are more distractible than older drivers, as they have yet to learn to keep their eyes on the road and road conditions regardless of temptations due to conversations, weather, something that occurs in the back seat, or any other occurrences.
The lists of driving tips below are not presented with a sense of blame. Rather, this is a time of opportunity. These behavior changes can save money and lives. Because they are behavioral – rather than mechanical or environmental – they can be changed. Would your child like to make changes that improve their odds of driving free from accident or injury? We think they would. Here are some common suggestions we hope you will take to heart.
Avoid distracted driving
The first step in avoiding distracted driving is to identify the items that cause distractions. These include conversations with others in the car, phone calls, any gadgets, including driver aids, like GPS systems. Sudden movements in the car are distracting, as are unusual events outside of the car and, sometimes, just the scenery. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 percent of all accidents involving teenage drivers that resulted in a fatality was caused by distracted driving, according to 2017 statistics.
Experience does make for better driving decisions and behaviors. This is an important reason for driving regulations that restrict the number of teenagers that can be in the car when a teenager is driving. In Colorado, with a driver’s permit, for the first six months, there are to be no passengers under 21 unless a parent or another licensed driver over 21 is in the car. For the next six months, only one passenger under 21 is allowed in a car and at no time is there more than one passenger allowed in the front seat.
Besides being just a good sense, all teen drivers must wear individual (no sharing) seat belts. This rule should be followed for any time you are in a vehicle, drivers, and passengers alike.
Cell phones are a Big No!
Cell phones, texting, computer games – our smartphones are huge distractions. Think of how absorbing these gadgets are in everyday life. They can be equally distracting in a car. By law, as well, teens under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.
Don’t forget the curfew!
You must obey local curfew laws. However, state-wide, for the first 12 months of licensed driving, a teen is prohibited from driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.
Drugs and drinking
Drugs and drinking are a big no when it comes to driving an automobile. If a teenager is using drugs or drinking alcohol at all, make sure they make honest decisions about that, refusing to drive and refusing to get in a car when the driver’s mental capacities are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Drugs and Drinking – the Other Guy
Teens behind the Wheel
Teenage drinking and taking drugs is not the entire story of teenage car accidents. Teens must also learn to stay clear of any other car that is behaving unusually or erratically. Teenagers should also be aware of local “happy hours” and the times that bars and saloons close, as these are high-risk times for other drivers who could be impaired.
The behaviors listed above are not voluntary; there serious consequences if teenagers break these rules. However, if there is a discrepancy that arises, make sure your teenager has safe options, such as staying where they are, rather than driving or using other forms of transportation if they must. The idea is to keep teenagers and the public safe. Making a mistake while driving can be life-changing.
Injured in a car accident? Dial 719-917-1000 to make an appointment at Colorado Accident and Injury.