Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

How Do You Keep Teenagers Safe Behind the Wheel?

How can parents keep their teenagers safe behind the wheel? Are there things parents can do to protect their children from drunk drivers, distractions, and other factors in car crashes? The bottom line is that the time and energy parents spend teaching their children to drive safely is the key to keeping their children safe on the road. You need to spend time with your child and teach them that even if they have the right-of-way, they still have to look for bad drivers who do not yield for lights, stop signs and yield signs. Teach them defensive driving.

Teens drive less than everyone except the elderly. However, for every mile they drive, they are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal automobile accident than drivers over the age of 20. Those in their first year of driving are at greatest risk; they are involved in fatal accidents at a rate that is nearly twice that of drivers who are 18 or 19 years old.

States responded to the risks teenagers face by instituting graduated driver's licenses. In 2010, Kansas initiated a graduated licensure program that dramatically reduced the number of teenage automobile accidents and fatalities. The data showed that in 2004 there were 5,000 accidents involving drivers ages 14 through 16. This shrank to fewer than 3,000 in 2011. Fatality rates fell by more than half. Between 2004 and 2009, the state averaged 22 teenage fatalities per year; by 2011, that number had dropped to 9. You can teach your child defensive driving by buying a book from the Smith System that is used to train tractor trailer and professional semi drivers.

Other actions aimed at reducing the number of factors in car crashes have also played a significant role in reducing teenage fatality rates. Laws prohibiting teenagers from using cell phones while driving and increased DUI patrols had considerably positive results. The rules within the graduated licensure program that require teens to hold a learner's permit for one year, limiting the times when teens can be on the road, and limiting the number of passengers they can transport reduced the risks considerably.

While the numbers of accidents and fatalities is declining, the role parents must play is increasing. That is because the roads are becoming more crowded, there are more potential distractions, and vehicles are becoming more complex to operate. Parents can mitigate these factors in car crashes by spending more time with their children behind the wheel. This provides "real world" opportunities to teach teens how to process information, avoid distractions, and safely navigate through traffic, road construction, weather conditions, etc. Always use seat belts and show your child good driving habits.

Parents should model safe driving behaviors for their teenagers. Children, even teenagers, learn by seeing and watching what other people do. When they see parents modeling the same behaviors they are teaching, they are more likely to adopt them. It's also advisable to plan regular driving sessions that encompass everything from city traffic to rural roads. While the weather can't be planned, when it rains, snows, or blows across the Kansas plain, it is an opportunity to practice driving in adverse weather conditions which are common to the region.

As parents teach their children to drive, it's important to set goals and establish expectations that are continually reinforced. This solidifies safe driving habits that can dramatically reduce a teen's risk of injury or death. Teens take these driving behaviors with them into adulthood and will carry them throughout their lifetime which will help keep themselves and others safe on the road.

Brad Pistotnik Law represents teenagers and their parents in Goodland, Wichita, Newton, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Pratt, Emporia, Kingman, Hays, Colby, Salina, Wellington, Newton, El Dorado, Topeka, Kansas City, Lawrence, and other regions throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Illinois. Teens injured in automobile accidents on I-70, I-35, highway 50, highway 83, highway 83, Highwayy 400, country roads or city streets can depend on our office to represent them in their claims.

We are Brad Pistotnik Law. ® We are Abogado El Toro. ® Hire the real Brad. ® Call in the Bull. ® We are the Bull Attorneys! ™ Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL. Our main office location is at 10111 E. 21st St. N., Suite 204, Wichita Kansas 67206.