A new study conducted by the Allstate Foundation has revealed that almost half of all parents of older teens report feeling regret about their lack of monitoring driving behavior after their child receive a license.
The Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyers at Caruso Law Offices understand that what's more, some two-thirds said they wished they had spent more time practicing with their teen about what to do, and how to react, in a high-risk situation.
The fact is, motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teenagers in this country. These incidents claim more lives than drugs, alcohol, sporting injuries, gun violence and other dangers.
Yet, 40 percent of parents don't know this, so it's unsurprising that few take the time to really drive home to their teens the important of the safety knowledge with which they should be armed before getting behind the wheel.
Researchers with Allstate Foundation have teamed up with the National Safety Council to launch a program called Drive It Home, aimed specifically at parents of newly-licensed or soon-to-be licensed drivers. The idea is to not only educate parents about the potential dangers new drivers face, but also to provide tools for how to educate, establish guidelines and enforce rules.
The program uses a combination of graphic images and videos to drive home the message.
Researchers say that parents are the top source of information for teen drivers. They can lead by example and also by setting up clear expectations and consequences for failure to meet those expectations. Still, many parents are reluctant to take on this role. They perhaps have some poor behind-the-wheel habits themselves or don't feel qualified to teach road safety. They leave it up to the driving instructors.
But even with graduated driver's license programs, which are now in place in most states throughout the country, driving instructors are only going to have a limited amount of time with each pupil. It's up to you to ensure your teen is getting enough practice and that he knows what to do when encountering things like ice or aggressive drivers. He also needs to truly understand the potentially devastating and deadly consequences for things like speeding and driving while intoxicated.
It's a parent's job - or both parents' job - to underscore those points.
Some of the additional findings discovered by the Allstate Foundation's research include:
- Many parents simply don't understand how dangerous it is for their teenager behind the wheel. Inexperience is the top cause of crashes involving teenagers. And yet, three-fourths of parents think that the leading cause is unnecessary risk taking. That may lead parents to assume that because their child isn't a risk taker, he doesn't need additional guidance. But that's not he case.
- Although 90 percent of parents say it's critical for teenagers to learn how to drive at night and with other passengers, one-third of parents concede they haven't gone over these skills thoroughly with their child. In the end, this does a new driver a great disservice.
- About a third of parents of new drivers don't set any rules at all with regard to the teen's access or use of a vehicle. In fact, many aren't requiring their child to get permission before taking the vehicle somewhere. This leads to a perception that driving is a right, rather than a privilege. This kind of thinking can lead to more careless behavior.
The NSC recommends making it a priority to ride at least a half an hour each week in the vehicle with your teen driving.
Some things you can work on specifically with your teen include:
- Carefully watching the road ahead and learning to recognize certain hazards and how to react to them;
- Being mindful to control speed, turning, stopping and following distance;
- Becoming more skilled in judging the gap between vehicles in traffic;
- Managing high risk situation, such as driving at night and with passengers.
If you are injured in an auto accident in New Mexico, call Caruso Law Offices for a free and confidential appointment -- (505) 883-5000-- or visit our web site at wwwcarusolaw.com.