Teen Drivers: Turn Risky Behavior to Responsible Behavior
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes on the road are the leading cause of teen death. Your teen sees a driver's license as a step toward freedom, but you might not be sure your teen is ready for the road.
One thing is certain: teens aren't ready to have the same level of driving responsibility as adults. Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.
To help your teen stay safe behind the wheel, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that limits high-risk driving situations for new drivers. This approach can reduce your teen's crash risk by as much as 50 percent.
What Can You Do?
Learn about Virginia’s GDL laws at http://www.graduateddriverlicensing.com/states/virginia.php. Familiarizing yourself with the restrictions placed on your teen's license can better assist you in enforcing those laws. You have the opportunity to establish some important ground rules for your teen driver. Restrict night driving and passengers, prohibit driving while using the phone or other electronic devices, and require seat belt use at all times.
Talk to your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Remind them that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, and it is illegal—and deadly—to drink and drive.
Be a good role model. Remember that your child looks to you as a driver, so practice safe driving yourself. Set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions. It can be a great way for your teen to improve some basic driving skills.
Don't rely solely on a driver's education class to teach your teen to drive. Remember that driver's education should be used as just part of a GDL system.
At the Law Office of James R. Elliott, we promote safe driving for people of all ages, but we understand that there are times when legal matters arising from driving offences do happen. If you or someone in your family has been charged with a traffic or criminal offense and would like a free consultation, give us a call today.