Whether due to lack of experience, distracted driving, or not wearing a seat belt, there are certain factors that put teens in a high-risk category when it comes to car accident statistics. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), motorists aged 16-20 years old have a traffic crash fatality rate that is higher than all other age groups, yet they make up the smallest percentage of licensed drivers.
As a parent, it is your biggest fear that your child could be harmed in such a crash. At the same time, you know you cannot be there every time he or she gets behind the wheel of a car. What you can do is develop a parent-teen driving agreement that is focused on safety and preventing Baltimore County auto accidents. Some additional figures on teen driving collisions may convince you of the need, but a few tips on creating an agreement may also be useful.
Statistics on Teen Accidents
MDOT reports that young motorists represent one out of every five drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes. Plus:
- Drivers aged 16-20 years old make up 24% of all injured victims and 23% of all fatalities.
- Teens were also linked to 14% of injury-causing crashes and 10% of deadly auto collisions.
- Even though the number of teen collisions decreased from 2011 to 2015, there were still 12,000 incidents on Maryland roads each year.
- According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on fatal accidents involving teen drivers in 2016, 58% were not wearing a seatbelt, 20% had been drinking, and 10% were driving while distracted.
Tips for Creating a Parent-Teen Driving Contract
The agreement is a two-way street, so keep in mind that there should be some non-negotiable rules that apply to parents and teens. Everyone must agree to always wear seatbelts, follow traffic laws, and be courteous when driving. All signers will also promise to never drive drunk, operate the vehicle recklessly, or allow someone else to drive. In addition, teen motorists must agree to:
- Participate in driver education courses;
- Make time to practice driving; and,
- Never drive without a parent or other approved adult in the car.
Specific rules for parents include properly maintaining the vehicle, paying for driver’s education courses and materials, and being available to assist with the teen’s driving practice. Once a month, it is a good idea to set aside time to discuss progress and address any problems. Your role as a parent is to coach and help your teen overcome the biggest threat to young driver safety. The lack of experience, which can only be gained through practice.
Contact a Baltimore County Car Accident Attorney About Your Rights
A solid parent-teen driving contract based upon mutual respect and understanding can reduce the potential for serious crashes. Accidents can happen despite your best efforts. If your child was hurt, there are legal remedies to recover for your losses. For more information about them, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a free consultation right away.