MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. Driving is tough enough as it is. When we get behind the wheel, we try to predict other drivers’ behaviors. Our predictions are often based upon years of experience. However, for teen drivers and inexperienced drivers, those predictions may not always be accurate. Add to this equation the distraction of the cell phone or music device and you have a recipe for an accident. According to Consumer Affairs, approximately 2,300 teens were killed in car accidents in 2015 alone.
According to Claims Journal, as teens become more proficient at driving, they may try to multitask while behind the wheel. Cell phone use isn’t the only distraction. Eating and talking to friends can also lead to accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, when new drivers engage in these high-risk distracting activities, they often don’t have the experience to prevent accidents. Experienced drivers may know to watch for bicyclists or motorcycles when changing lanes. A teen driver distracted by her cell phone may not. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, any new road hazard can pose a risk to a distracted driver, whether it is a car ahead slowing down or a pedestrian entering a walkway. Researchers found that as teen drivers become more comfortable behind the wheel, the temptation to pick up the phone increases.
So, what can parents do to protect their teens? For one, parents can set ground rules about what a teen can and cannot do behind the wheel. While some states have graduated licenses that regulate whether a teen can have underage passengers in the car, parents can decide for their teen when it is appropriate for them to bring passengers. Teens are more at risk when other teens are in the car, because conversations can distract from the complex task of driving. In order to set ground rules and offer your teen some much-needed experience you may want to look at a service such as this Florida traffic school, but somewhere local to you and your child.
Parents can set an example about putting down the phone while driving, but they should also be aware that the temptation to respond to a new text or notification can be difficult to resist. Studies have found that cell phones are particularly addictive and trigger areas in our brain related to addiction and reward. Teens may have a particular difficult time resisting the urge to pick up the phone. Parents can install apps on their teen’s phone that block incoming messages while the teen is driving. Other kinds of technology also prevent teens from receiving messages while in the car.
There are good reasons to consider investing in this technology as a parent. If you are a parent of a teen who drives, you could be held financially responsible for any damage your teen does behind the wheel. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a car accident lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who works with victims and families affected by the actions of distracted or inexperienced drivers. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent driver, you may only have a limited amount of time to seek damages under the law. Visit our firm’s website at https://www.martinmontilino.com/ to learn more about your rights.