Last Tuesday a 17 year-old teen was tragically killed in a mid-day car wreck on the North Side of Fort Worth. At this stage, investigators have released little information about the crash, including its cause.
What we do know is that teen traffic deaths is that they are far too common. In fact, more 15 to 20 year olds die in vehicular crashes than in any other way. 1,678 drivers in this age group died in 2014. That means that 1,678 families will not see their kids graduate, get married, have a child or do the other things parents proudly look forward to.
What can be done to protect teens?
Teen traffic deaths are common, but they don’t have to be inevitable. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that inexperience is the leading cause of teen driving crashes. Although texting and drinking certainly play a part in some crashes, many teens are not engaged in risky behavior.
Instead, they have never encountered and responded to situations older drivers take as par for the course. They have not fully mastered learned driving behaviors such as leaving the right amount of space between cars, controlling speed to match roadway conditions or turning safely. Teens may not have yet driven through the rain, with the sun directly on the horizon ahead or once the sun has set. They may never have had to maneuver through a construction site or had a person swerve into their lane. Effectively dealing with these situations takes practice.
NSC claims that, in every state, the laws are too weak to adequately protect novice teen drivers. The NSC suggests that parents establish household rules to fill in the gaps and proposes a New Driver Deal to address cell phone use, nighttime driving and numbers of passengers in the car. The federal agency offers a draft of the New Driver Deal and other helpful resources for parents of teen drivers.
Just as parents do with other factors that endanger their child’s safety, parents can protect their child by establishing and enforcing rules that include:
- Do not use of mobile phones or electronic devices while driving
- Do not have extra passengers in the vehicle
- Never speed, including going to fast for conditions
- Never drive after taking a drink of alcohol
- Always wear a seat belt, as a passenger or driver
Protecting your teen’s rights after a crash
Special rules apply to personal injury cases involving minors who are younger than 18. But, even though 18 to 20 year-olds are considered adults, many lack any experience with insurance policies and legal cases.
Berenson Injury Law has 36 years of experience in personal injury recovery. I often handle claims in which young people have sustained injuries and I take vital steps to protect their rights throughout the process of recovery. I also represent people who have been injured by vehicles driven by teens and do everything possible to get my clients the compensation they deserve.