teenagers riding in a car

Deadly time for new teen drivers

For a parent, a teen-age son or daughter getting a driver’s license is a landmark time for them.  It’s a solid sign that they are growing up and this is a critical turning point in life.  In a way, it is the first time they are on their own and you are letting them become more free of parental supervision.  Needless to say, it is also a very worrisome time for any parent as we (often reluctantly) turn over the keys to the family car.

Smart parents will put strict restrictions on the usage of the car for a first-time driver.  Even the safest teen driver, though, can be the victim of another driver who isn’t so careful.  Sadly, there is even more evidence that parents’ worries are not exaggerations.  New AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research about teens and distracted driving warn that new teen drivers  ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.

“While the summer months represent a break from school for most teens, they also represent one of the deadliest time periods for teen drivers, who have the highest percentage of auto collisions of any drivers,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones remarked in conjunction with the release of the study.  “Statistics show teens are more likely to be involved in a crash causing significant injuries, which is devastating emotionally and also financially, as it can cause your insurance rates to nearly double.”

According to traffic safety experts, the summer driving season between Memorial Day and Labor Day represents the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers, as the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year. Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during this deadly period.

The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased more than 10 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 crash data, the latest data available. To reverse this alarming trend, parents are urged to help reduce the number of deadly crashes on the road by getting more involved and talking to their teens about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.

The National Safety Council recently announced that 2016 may have been the deadliest year on our roads since 2007. One of the most frightening trends is the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel. A prior AAA Foundation study found that teen drivers manipulating their cell phone (includes calling, texting or other uses), had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also measured reaction times in rear-end crashes and found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half of the time before the impact, meaning they crashed without braking or steering.

75% of teens say texting & driving is "common" among their friendsWhat’s more, teens, at least subconsciously, believe they are invincible, are easily distracted, and are prone to taking risks – especially when riding in a car with their friends.

Unfortunately, many of these built in dangers rise exponentially when a teen chooses to drive after the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

We at Theodoros & Rooth are not here to tell you how to parent or how to raise your kids.  If you are responsible, you know the risks these kids face.  You know what to tell them before giving them the keys to the car. You know that it is wise to advise strongly that a car is a deadly weapon.  At the same time, we cannot guard our children forever. We need to allow them the chance to grow up and become responsible.

What we can tell you that many of the most responsible teens can still become victims, no matter how much they adhere to the rules.  We pray that you never need our services, but if the young life of your son or daughter takes a tragic turn as a result of a reckless driver, we are there for you.   We will listen and treat your case seriously and with sincere compassion.  So, if you need us, email or call at any time.  We will even come and see you if the situation warrants.  There is never a charge for an initial consultation and there are no attorney fees unless we are successful in the case.