INCREASINGLY, when it comes to safe driving, teens and parents know that safety is no accident. That’s why a growing number of them are stepping up to sign an agreement that promotes better driving behaviors.
Unfortunately, numerous studies show that safe driving and teens don’t always go together. First-year drivers in particular pose a risk to themselves and to others. Drivers age 16 have double the crash rate that 17- to 19-year-olds do.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. They claim the lives of seven teens daily, on average. Teens are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in fatal wrecks.
When it comes to the reasons behind these and other accidents involving teen drivers, distracted driving is a leading cause.
Research by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that just three types of errors led to nearly 50 percent of all serious teen crashes: distracted driving, failing to see a hazard, and speeding.
With the growing awareness of the problem of texting while driving, the issue of distracted driving for both parents and teens is taking on even more significance.
A safe driving agreement
To address this problem, several safety groups are promoting programs where parents and children sign an agreement to avoid at-risk behaviors that can lead to accident and injury.
One of those groups is the Accident Attorneys Organization. Its parent-teen driving agreement includes penalties for violating the agreement that teens and parents agree to, such as loss of driving privileges for two weeks.
The agreement consists of a series of promises that teen drivers agree to follow, such as always wearing a seat belt, never texting, driving with both hands on the wheel and not having passengers.
The fact that this is a joint agreement signed by both children and parents is key to its effectiveness because it attempts to reflect what really goes on behind the wheel.
Psychologists agree that clearly outlining the negative consequences of breaking an important rule increases the chances it will be followed.
You can download a copy of the agreement at www.accidentattorneys.org.
North American Precis Syndicate