Last week, a teenager was killed in a deadly Cobb County auto accident that also left two children injured.The auto accident made headlines partly because the injured belonged to the family of a gubernatorial candidate.However, it was the loss of yet another teen life in an auto accident that caught our attention.As car accident attorneys in Atlanta and parents, we have strongly promoted teen motorist safety, especially the role of parents in creating a generation of safe teen drivers.A new study indicates that we are right.
According to this study, many parents are making a mistake by allowing teenagers to get their driver’s license even before they’re ready for it.The result is generally more accidents involving young teens than those who waited. The study involved 50 families in North Carolina, who were monitored over a period of four months after the teenager in the family received his driver’s license.The families were monitored through cameras that were installed in the cars of these families.
Approximately 50% of the parents in the study admitted that there were situations in which they were not comfortable letting their child drive.For instance, these parents were not comfortable allowing their children to drive in bad weather or in heavy traffic.However, even among these parents, one third went ahead and allowed their child to get his driver’s license anyway.
The researchers also found that the most frequent instructions that the parents gave their children as they drove, was to slow down speeds.Most often, these instructions were delivered in emotionally charged voices.
It’s important for teen motorists to learn to anticipate other motorists’ behavior while they are driving, and parents can help teach them these skills.Unfortunately, just about 5% of the clips show the parents discussing these practices with their children.
The lessons to take home from the study are:
· Have frequent driving practice sessions with your child.These sessions can be used to give your child tips and advice that he will find useful to hone his driving skills.
· If you’re not comfortable with your child driving in bad weather, on highways or in heavy traffic, make sure that he continues to retain a learner’s permit until his driving improves.
· Teach by practice.Your child will learn safe driving practices only when you drive safely yourself.