In Maryland and throughout the United States, young drivers are simply at higher risk of experiencing an injury accident. Teen car accidents are far more common than we as parents, teachers, and mentors would like to believe, and the data surrounding young driver accidents is frightening to say the least. According to the Maryland Vehicle Association, 16, and, 17, year old teen drivers make up only 1.6 percent of all licensed drivers in Maryland, but these young drivers account for almost 11 percent of car collision fatalities. This statistic leads to the conclusion that young drivers are almost 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash in Maryland than the rest of the general population. The MVA has reports that over 30 people are injured each day in a car accident involving a young driver, and has also stated that every three days in Maryland there is a fatal auto car crash involving a young or teen driver. The Law Offices of Larry B. Litt understands that teen car wrecks involving serious injury or death can be extremely traumatizing for all those involved, but these accidents can in many cases be prevented through education and awareness.
Every day, about seven teens are killed and hundreds suffer serious injuries nationwide due to car accidents, according to CDC. While teens see getting a driver’s license as a rite of passage and a way to get freedom, getting behind the wheel is often the most dangerous thing drivers do every day, and these young motorists face additional risks when compared with other users of the road. You driver risks may include; inexperience, night driving, fatigued driving, DUIs and drug use, passengers, distraction, lack of seat belts, older cars, amongst many other risks.
In many ways, young drivers can be very safe drivers on Baltimore’s roads. They have usually just competed drivers’ education classes recently. So, they are aware of all current laws and best practices and they have been practicing their driving skills diligently to get licensed. Young drivers may also take driving more seriously, because they associate with freedom.
At the same time, younger drivers face some challenges that can put them at risk of car crashes on Maryland roads. For example, younger drivers do not have much experience on the road and are statistically more likely to take risks and drive distracted. The right education and support, though, can empower young drivers to make responsible choices behind the wheel.
Long before your children are old enough to drive in Baltimore, they will be in cars, being ferried to and from school and activities. They are still at risk of car accidents. Even more importantly, children are watching everything – including the driving habits of the adults who drive them around. They are forming their ideas of what driving should look like.
How To Help Young Drivers in Your Life Avoid Car Crashes
If you are a parent, caregiver, guardian, or are in any way responsible for younger drivers, there are several things you can do to help build their skills and confidence on the road. Here are some examples:
- Talk about distracted driving. Young drivers are more prone to distractions, especially from mobile devices. Emphasize the importance of keeping their attention solely on the road, avoiding phone use, and using hands-free technology is necessary.
- Take steps to prevent impaired driving. Young drivers are at a higher risk of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Promote a zero-tolerance policy regarding impaired driving and educate young drivers about the potential consequences, both legal and personal, associated with such actions. Encourage alternative transportation options or designated drivers to ensure a safe journey. Be a safe ride home for the young drivers in your life.
- Offer support. Monitoring and supporting your young driver’s progress can instill responsible behaviors and accountability. Be a resource young drivers can turn to.
- Be a role model. Driving safely can be one of the most important things you can do. It gives young drivers and example of safe driving practices.
- Set rules about seat belts. It is the law in Maryland, so encourage young drivers to buckle up. Be prepared to revoke driving privileges if your children break these and other driving rules.
- Limit passengers. Studies show that for young drivers, especially, having too many passengers can increase distractions and the risk of car collisions.
- Encourage ongoing training. Encourage young drivers to pursue ongoing education and training opportunities, such as defensive driving courses or advanced driver education programs. These programs build on driving skills taught in the classroom. Extra classes in driving make an excellent gift for the younger drivers in your life. They can even help young motorists reduce their insurance costs.
- Drive with them. Volunteer as someone that can ride along. Some studies have suggested younger drivers take fewer risks when there is an adult in the car. In addition, driving together can help you start conversations about safe driving.
- Urge caution during nighttime driving. Highlight the increased risks associated with nighttime driving, such as reduced visibility and potential drowsiness. If you are a parent of a teen, you might want to limit nighttime driving or only permit it if you are in the car until your new driving gets used to driving at night.
- Celebrate driving achievements. Getting a license and learning to drive are big milestones. Recognize young drivers’ safe driving achievements and offer positive reinforcement to encourage responsible driving habits.
Helping Your Teen Through Their First Baltimore Car Collision
No parent wants to consider that their child may be in an auto accident, but most drivers will at some point be involved in a car collision. For teens, being in a crash is especially traumatizing. They may not have the experience to know how to deal with such a situation. Some teen drivers worry about getting in trouble or end up getting blamed for causing an accident that was not their fault.
A serious injury or trauma sustained in an auto crash can affect the trajectory of a teen’s life. A serious injury can impact future earnings and mobility. The upset of a serious car crash can lead to depression and can affect school performance and mental health.
Here are some things parents can do to protect their teen drivers:
- Review best practices before your child is in a car crash. When your teen first gets their drivers license, discuss what they should do if they are ever involved in a car wreck. First among what they should do: get medical treatment, call you, and take photos of the scene. Discussing the possibility of a crash prepares your child in case they are ever in the situation.
- Talk about it. If your child has been in an auto collision, make sure you talk about the crash together. Check in and make sure your teen knows it is safe. If you child seems to be struggling and you are noticing changes in personality or sleeping or eating habits, encourage your child to speak to a therapist or counselor.
- Encourage your child to not post on social media. Teens tend to post on social media about everything, but posting about a car crash, even on accounts set to “private,” can affect insurance claims and legal claims.
- Talk to an attorney together. It can be intimidating for your teen to talk to an attorney. If your child has suffered serious injuries, though, consult with an experienced car accident attorney together to discuss compensation. There is no harm in at least finding out whether you may have a case.
- Keep an eye on your child’s injuries. If your child seems to be getting worse, consider seeking a second medical opinion about their injuries. Make sure your teen is following doctor’s orders and getting the required treatment.
- Help your child take care of the details, including the documentation. Your teen may not realize they need to keep receipts, notes of any expenses related to their injury, and any paperwork related to their car accident claim. Review the records you need together.
- Support your child in getting back behind the wheel. Your teen may need a confidence boost and some support to feel comfortable driving again. You may want to have your teen driving with you or a trusted adult at first, until they feel good about driving again. You may want to encourage your teen to get additional driver training or even counseling to help them feel confident as a driver again.
Most young adults today have cell phones and mobile devices they can use to photograph their injuries, car damages, and the whole car accident scene. Yet not all of them think to do so after an auto collision. Make sure you tell your teen to write down and photograph as much information as they can in the minutes immediately following an accident. Memories start to disappear quite soon after a traumatic event such as a car crash and you want to preserve as much of that information as possible.
Young Drivers May Be Unfairly Blamed for Car Wrecks
While younger motorists may have more risk factors, they are not always to blame for a car crash. Unfortunately, after a car collision it is not uncommon for them to be blamed, even if the other driver was at fault for the crash.
If you are the parents or guardian of a young driver, teach your teen to avoid getting into conversation at any car accident scene. Encourage them to get insurance information from the other driver and contact information of any witnesses and to take photos of the accident site. Knowing what to do after a car collision can help your teen stay calm and gives them the information that they need to protect themselves.
If you are a young driver or if your teen has been injured in a car accident in Baltimore or anywhere in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt at 443-844-1528 for a free consultation with a Baltimore car accident attorney. Unfortunately, young drivers sometimes get unfairly blamed for causing a car crash and the consequences can lead to inadequate compensation for injuries or to unfairly increased insurance costs.
Our attorneys understand the tactics insurance companies may use to try to blame a young driver for an auto collision which was not their fault. We have a team of investigators and car wreck reconstruction experts who can get to the bottom of what really caused an injury. Our team has more than 60 years of combined experience and are available to talk 24/7/365. There is no fee unless we win! Call us now.