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Colorado laws already work toward keeping teens safe on the roads through graduated drivers licenses and stiff penalties for teen drivers caught violating traffic laws. As the parent or guardian of a teen driver, you can help in these efforts to limit car accidents. In doing so, you help keep the roads safe for your children, yourself, and everyone else on the highway.
Colorado car accident attorneys see cases every day where injuries could have been avoided if teen drivers were better educated or more conscientious. Keep reading to learn how to keep your teen from becoming a statistic and what to do if the worst should occur.
Proper Driver’s Education Can Help Avoid Car Accidents
Teaching your teen to drive is the right of every parent, but a good driver’s education program doesn’t necessarily have to cut you out of the loop.
If your teen’s school offers drivers’ education, encourage him or her to sign up. If the school doesn’t provide classes, look into other options. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles offers a comprehensive list of available schools.
You can share this important milestone with your teen and also help reinforce their learning and prevent car accidents by scheduling regular driving lessons after each drivers’ education class. Since the state of Colorado employs a graduated licensing system – drivers need to have had a learner’s permit for at least six months before receiving a driver’s license – you will have plenty of opportunities to help your teen driver hone their new skills.
Emphasize the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Texting, talking on the phone and even sipping on a soda or munching on some fries can distract your teen and cause a potentially deadly car accident. As the true dangers of distracted driving have come to light over the years, statistics have started to point to the surprising fact that driving distractions on Colorado’s roads may even lead to more traffic fatalities than drinking and driving.
Half of teens admit that they have sent and received text messages behind the wheel, and chances are many more have done so as well and just weren’t willing to admit their behavior on a survey. Texting while driving is both the most common and most dangerous distraction for teen drivers.
You probably already plan on forbidding your teen from using a cell phone behind the wheel, but thanks to detailed cell phone bills, you can confirm that they are following that rule, and reinforce your stance with appropriate punishment.
You can also teach by example. While teen drivers are at a higher risk of car accidents due to distracted driving, adults are hardly immune. Colorado car accident attorneys see plenty of cases where wrecks were caused by an adult who felt the need to answer a call while driving or, or one who was trying to eat a quick breakfast on the way to work.
Turn off your own cell phone when you get behind the wheel, and make sure your teen sees it. Don’t eat, drink or engage in other distractions while driving and your teen driver will understand the importance of keeping both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road at all times.
Talk to Your Teen Driver about the Consequences of Drinking and Driving
Driving under the influence is a problem that affects every age group, but teen drivers are even more disadvantaged than adult drivers in these situations. In addition to slowed reaction times, they don’t have the experience and instincts that adults develop after years behind the wheel.
This may explain that while teens are actually less likely to be involved in drinking and driving car accidents, they are actually far more likely to die if such an accident occurs.
Talk to your teen about drinking and driving, and make sure that they know that before they get behind the wheel, they should call you, a sober friend or a cab to obtain a ride home.
If Your Teen is Involved in a Car Accident in Colorado
Regardless of fault, negligence, distraction or alcohol, teen drivers are already at a disadvantage in these types of cases due to their age and inexperience. Don’t attempt to go through the legal process without assistance. Call a Colorado car accident attorney to discuss your individual case today.