Teeenagers die in traffic accidents far too frequently in Michigan and around the country. As the most inexperienced drivers, they are three times likelier to be killed in motor vehicle collisions than are people of other age groups. Parents can take steps to encourage safe driving practices and to help their teenagers to avoid accident involvement.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities overall increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 over the number who died in 2014. This was the largest single-year increase in fatalities in 50 years. The number of teens who were killed during the year increased by 10 percent, which was the largest jump of any age group.
In factors involving human choices among all drivers, the largest increase in fatalities was attributable to distracted driving at nearly 9 percent. This was followed by failing to wear seat belts at 4.9 percent, impaired driving at 3.2 percent and speeding at 3 percent. Parents can help their teens by stressing the importance of traffic safety. They should encourage them to speak up when they are riding in a car with another teen who is engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. Parents should demonstrate safe driving practices themselves and avoid using cellphones, speeding and driving while under the influence. They should also mandate the use of seat belts at all times.
Taking educational and preventative measures with teenagers can help to reduce their risk of being involved in car accidents. However, young people will continue to feel bulletproof and unfortunately become involved in collisions due to their risky behavior. A person who has been injured in a crash caused by the negligence of a teen driver may want to have the help of a lawyer in seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist. In some cases, such as where the teen was driving the family car or the parents knew that their child often drove in a reckless manner, the parents might be held financially responsible as well.