Articles Tagged with “teen driving safety”

Massachusetts parent teaching a teen driver how to drive safely and defensively to prevent car accidents.We know many Massachusetts parents regularly talk to their teens about safe driving to prevent car accidents. You should be commended for engaging in this often-stressful conversation.

We urge you to continue on this summer. Helping teens understand the difference between appropriate and unsafe choices and build strong driving skills is a life-long investment in their safety and the safety of others.

Nationwide, teen driving crashes killed more than seven people each day of summer from 2008 to 2018, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  AAA recently released the 2020 “100 Deadliest Days” of driving report, once again warning teen drivers and parent to take extra precautions between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Be aware of the unique risks this summer, AAA says. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many summer jobs and activities have been cancelled. With more free time, teens may be driving more. AAA urges parents to read its 2020 “100 Deadliest Days” report, and its Parent Coaching Guide, and to have teens sign a safe driving agreement. With this approach, parents can set clear expectations for teens and refer them to the agreement should they forget. If teens violate the terms of the agreement, they may lose driving privileges for a period of time.

Research on Teen Driving Crashes

Here are a few figures for parents to consider. AAA’s research found more than 70 percent of teen drivers age 16-18 had engaged in unsafe and illegal driving behaviors.

Seat belt Use
17 percent of teen drivers admitted to not wearing a seat belt.

Speeding
47 percent of teen drivers admitted to driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
40 percent of teen drivers admitted to driving 15 mph on a freeway.

Texting and Cell Phone Use
35 percent of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving.

Other Driving Violations
More than 30 percent of teen drivers admitted to running red lights and aggressive driving. Meanwhile, 25 percent of teen drivers admitted to drowsy driving.

Parents can influence teens on some of these behaviors by developing a teen driving agreement (there are several available on the Teen Driver Source website). Your conversations with your teens are also essential.

Help Your Teen Drive Safely
Help your teen drive safely and avoid a car crash.

Many states have graduated licensing laws, including Massachusetts. Encourage your teen to follow the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law at all times. Under this law, teens are not allowed to use cell phones when driving in Massachusetts, not even under the new Massachusetts “hands-free” driving laws.

When they have a question, encourage them to ask, review their driver’s education materials or the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual. When drivers understand the law, they are more confident making decisions on the road.

Another opportunity is to drive together. Take turns in the driver seat. When you drive, take the opportunity to show your teen how you follow the speed limit. On a 30 mph street, this means driving 30 mph or less, not 35 or 40 mph. Tell your teen what you are doing and why.

Speed-related crashes are prevalent among teens. Simply slowing down and following other vehicles at greater distances can make a tremendous impact in reducing car accidents. At slower speeds, your teen has more time to stop and if they have a collision, injuries are likely to be less severe. Accident victims are more likely to survive a teen driving accident.

At the same time, parents should understand that when teens speed, they may be intentionally speeding and risk-taking. This is unacceptable. But often, the reason is driver inexperience. Teens need more practice using the gas and brakes, and you may need to explain that traveling “just” 5 mph or 10 mph over the  speed limit is dangerous. In fact, you may need to do this a few times, also explaining that teens are more likely to cause injury when they speed and receive a speeding ticket which will impact their junior license.

To help your teen, be patient. Your goal is to demonstrate safe driving techniques and give them feedback when they make a good decision or make a mistake. Yet, if you are too critical, you will make your teen nervous and reluctant to drive with you. Tread lightly but firmly. It’s alright to take a break, but don’t stop trying.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston car accident attorneys represent those who have been injured by negligent driving in Massachusetts. Car accidents often result in serious and catastrophic injuries, including head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations and death. When victims survive, they may require medical care, have to take time off from work and suffer other financial losses.

Always learn your legal rights after an injury. For a free legal consultation, call our car accident attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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10528911_s.jpgWith the snowbanks nearly gone, your teen driver is likely asking for the car keys. Now is a very good time to talk to them about paying attention on the roads and following traffic laws.

Young people ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal motor vehicle crash than other age groups. While cell phone use is a frequent cause, there is also simple inexperience. If you are a parent, you know this conversation takes a lot of work and a lot of repetition.

We offer these safety tips for teen drivers:

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • Do not take phone calls while driving. The caller can leave a voicemail.
  • Remember that under Massachusetts Junior Operator License, teen drivers are not allowed to use cell phones behind the wheel. You cannot send texts or make phone calls. If you are caught, you may be fined and your license suspended. It is important to think about these steps for the safety of others and to keep yourself out of trouble.
  • If you must use your phone, pull off the road to a safe area. Put the car in park and remove the keys. Or ask a passenger to call or answer for you.
  • Travel with the phone in the best place to reduce distraction. If your phone ringing or lighting up with messages distracts you, set it in a bag in the backseat.
  • Remember that whatever is happening on your phone can wait, whether it is a social media post, e-mail or photo. It really can.
  • Be mindful of distractions created by loud music or intense conversation. Explain to passengers you need to limit conversation while driving.
  • Remember you cannot carry passengers under the age of 18 during the first six months with a Massachusetts Junior Operator License. The one exception is you can drive with siblings.
  • Do not look up phone numbers or GPS directions on your phone while driving.
  • Many cars have dashboard GPS systems and infotainment systems. Turn them off until you are more experienced.

Other Safe Driving Habits

  • Never consume alcohol and drive. No driver should, but you are more likely than older drivers to get in car accidents because you lack driving experience.
  • Before entering your vehicle, look around for other cars, trucks and hazards. Make sure you provide bicyclists and pedestrians extra time to pass.
  • Shift your eyes every two seconds and check the rear-view mirror every five to eight seconds. This will help you focus on driving.
  • Do not drive drowsy. If you are tired, you will be less capable of responding to potential car accidents. The Massachusetts Junior Operator License restricts young drivers from traveling between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent. This is a good step but realize you always have to be aware of your fatigue level and make good decisions at all hours.
  • Even if you have your license, keep practicing. For instance, if you are weak backing up, practice backing into a parking space in an empty parking lot with a parent. Keep practicing because you will need these skills going forward and will not always have the time to practice.
  • There are construction work zones in many places. Be extra attentive, slow down and watch for workers.
  • Check your speed regularly and slow down. A little extra space between you and the car in front of you can make a big difference toward preventing a car accident.
  • Drive defensively. Expect the unexpected will happen and you may have to stop or change lanes.
  • Signal your intentions to turn or switch lanes early enough to give others time to prepare.
  • Do not drive on the highway on your own before you are ready.
  • Limit the number of times you drive your friends home after sports practices, to the mail or school events. Every teenager looks forward to driving around with their friends, but teens are more likely to become distracted this way.
  • Be careful in school zones and school buses. Slow down and watch out for teenagers and children walking or riding bikes. You are required to stop when school buses stop.

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