The Realities Of Teenage Driving

As parents, nothing matters more than ensuring the safety of our children. Unfortunately, many parents find that this becomes more challenging as their kids grow up and become more independent. Getting a driver's license is an important step on the road to adulthood, for example, but ask any parents and they'll likely tell you that watching their child drive away for the first time was one of the most nerve-wracking moments of their lives.

Tragically, their deep concerns are often warranted. Car accidents account for over 30% of all deaths in teens ages 15-19. Driving safely requires careful and unwavering attention to multiple details, and it often takes drivers several years before attending to all of the details becomes second-nature. In recognition of the dangers teens face on the road and the, this week (October 16-22) has been designated National Teen Driver Safety Week. In honor of this week-long observance, our Lake of the Ozarks traffic attorneys are here to help raise awareness of this important issue and to help our children stay safe on the roads. 

Teen Driver Statistics

Before we examine some of the ways we can help teen drivers stay safe on the roads, it's important to know what we're really up against. These statistics provide an important (but difficult) look at the current reality our teen drivers face:
  • 16 year olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.*
  • Death rates of 16- and 17-year-old drivers increase with every additional passenger in the car.*
  • One in five 16-year-olds has an accident in his first year of driving.*
  • 50% of teen drivers admit to driving at least 10 mph over the speed limit on occasion.**
  • The risk of an accident increases incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit.*
  • Trips between 9 PM and 6 AM makeup only 14% of of the miles driven by 16- and 17-year-old drivers, but they account for 32% of fatal crashes within this age group.**
  • Over half (58%) of all nighttime teen accidents occur between 9 PM and midnight.**
* Source:

Helping Teen Driver Stay Safe On The Roads

Fortunately, these scary but eye-opening statistics only tell half the story. We don't have to resign ourselves to our current reality - there are steps that parents, teachers, and other adults can take to increase the safety of today's young drivers. Since teens often have a mentality of invincibility, using scare tactics to try to get them to be safer on the roads rarely works. Instead, here are a few positive suggestions you can use to help encourage young drivers to be safe on the roads.

Model Good Behavior. 
Teens are greatly influenced by their parents and other role models. If you model good driving behavior, they will be more likely to follow suit. (Remember, the same also applies to modeling poor driving behavior.)

Talk Through Your Driving Decisions.
Begin talking to your kids about safe driving techniques a couple of years before they get their learner's permits. The more you can familiarize them with various safe driving techniques ahead of time, the better.

Stress The Danger Of Distracted Driving.
Cell phones, passengers, food, pets... there are countless things that can distract people while they are behind the wheel, and distracted drivers are far more likely to be involved in an accident. Model safe driving tactics by relying on your kids or copilot to help you avoid distractions while you're driving.

Talk About The Reality Of Driving Risks.
While using scare tactics often doesn't work, it is still important to address the risks and dangers that drivers face. Instead of alienating your children by singling out teenagers as the only ones at risk, acknowledge that adults can be subject to the same dangers. Having an open conversation about the responsibilities all drivers have and the risks they all face may be much more effective.

Our Attorneys Are Here For You And Your Teens

In honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week, our attorneys in Camden County MO want to stress the importance of keeping our youth safe on the roads. Please remember that our team will be here to defend you and your teens no matter what situation you may be facing. From combating traffic tickets to pursuing personal injury claims, the staff at our general practice firm at the Lake of the Ozarks will be here to meet your legal needs.

Law Offices of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising. When you need a knowledgeable attorney, we invite you to contact us to set up a consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available. We have access to interpreters.

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85 Court Circle N.W., P.O. Box 559
Camdenton, MO 65020   GET A MAP
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