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How to Equip Your Teen for Safe Driving

Teenage drivers in Texas are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident when other teens are in the car with them, according to a recent study conducted by the Automobile Association of America’s (AAA) Safety Foundation.

Texas Teen Car Accident Statistics

The study conducted by AAA was based on data gathered by the government on teen car accidents that occurred between 2007 and 2010. Data shows that teens who drive with their friends in the car take more risks than when driving alone or driving with an adult.

In fact, a 16 or 17 year old driver who has at least one passenger under the age of 21 in the car has a 44 percent increased risk of being involved in a fatal Texas car accident.

What’s worse, the teen’s risk of dying in a Texas car accident doubles when carrying two passengers under the age of 21.

When three or more passengers under 21 are in the car, the risk of a fatal Texas car accident nearly quadruples.

But when a teen is driving with an adult at least 35 or older, the risk of being in a fatal Texas car accident decreases by 62 percent. That’s because teen drivers are more of a distraction than adult drivers, who are encouraged to set an example of good driving behavior for teens.

Texas Graduated License: What You Need to Know

The results of the AAA study only reinforced what many already know—teen drivers tend to engage in more risky driving behavior when their friends are in the car. Although the news is not new, the study is the first of its kind since graduated licensing laws were adopted in all 50 states.

In Texas, the graduated licensing law requires that teens under the age of 17 not use cell phones or similar wireless devices while driving.

Texas graduated licenses come in two phases. In phase one, drivers under 18 years old must hold a learner or hardship license for at least six months, must be accompanied by another driver who is at least 21 years old, and must maintain a valid learner license. In phase two, the driver is given a provisional license, with the following prohibitions:

  • The driver may not operate a car when more than one passenger in the vehicle is under 21 years old and is not a family member.

  • The driver may not operate a car unless he is with a parent or guardian, between the hours of 12AM and 5AM, unless the teen needs to attend a school-related activity, go to work, or deal with a medical emergency.

  • The driver may not use a wireless communication device except when there is an emergency.

  • Even after a teen driver earns an unrestricted license, his parents must still ensure that he is driving safe and following the laws.

How to Protect Your Teen from Being Involved in a Wreck

About 40% of the more than 2,100 teen drivers killed between 2000 and 2010 were driving with passengers under the age of 21 at the time of the car accidents. While graduated license laws have helped prevent teen car accidents, the number of distracted driving accidents is still very high in the United States.

With summer on its way, teens are more likely to be involved in serious Texas car accidents as school lets out. On average, more than 400 teens tragically die each month of summer in car accidents, many of which could have been prevented. To help protect your child from being involved in a serious Texas car accident, follow these tips:

  • Set ground rules for your teen on cell phone use while driving.

  • Explain to your teen the risks of distracted driving and have him pledge to never use his phone and drive.

  • Talk with your teen about safe driving before he heads out on the road.

  • Before you let your teen drive alone, set some ground rules for him to follow.

  • Know where your teen is going and who he’ll be with.

  • Remind your teen to drive safely and to not become distracted by the other teens in the car.

  • Set the example for your teen. If you wouldn’t want your teen to text and drive or speed while weaving in and out of traffic, then you should also follow your rules, even when your teen isn’t in the car with you.

By: Kay Van Wey | December 28th, 2015

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