By Pendergast Law on November 11, 2010
Hardwick and Pendergast, a Washington car accident law firm, points out that motor vehicle crashes is one of the leading causes of death among teens age 16-19 in the State, already causing the deaths of 27 teens this year. A total of 84 teens died in 2008 and 2009 from traffic crashes. During 2009, 16-19 year-olds accounted for 4.2% of all licensed drivers, but 9.1% of all drivers in fatal crashes in Washington.
Here are some of the many ways parents can help their teens become safer drivers:
1. Enforce the Intermediate Driver Licensing (IDL) Law. Currently in Washington, in their first 6 months with a license, teens cannot carry passengers under the age of 20, and in the next 6 months they can transport only three passengers at a time under the age of 20. Teens can also not drive between one and five in the morning. Since June 10, 2010, teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving, including hands-free devices, unless they’re reporting an emergency. At age 18, a driver can get a full license without IDL laws.
2. Set a good driving example. As parents, we have the greatest influence on our teens’ driving habits, behaviors, and skills. Even though it may seem that teenagers ignore their parent’s behavior and advice most of the time, parents need to keep in mind that their kids learn by watching them. When driving with a teen, model the behavior you would like your teen to practice when they are behind the wheel: buckle up, slow down and focus on the road.
3. Consider establishing a teen/parent contract to clearly define driving expectations for the household. It’s been shown to work. You can find a sample contract here.
4. Schedule supervised practice driving. 50 hours is a minimum to learn the complicated skill of driving.
5. Watch teens driving correctly. Praise them when they use good judgment, discipline them when needed and be honest with them about the reasons.
6. Gradually introduce new privileges after a teen driver receives their license based on model driving behavior.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and get compensation for your injuries. If you think you have a claim contact our Seattle personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. You obtain the best possible legal services at the time of your injury without having to pay money out of your pocket for legal services. No recovery means no attorney fee.