Handing the car keys over to your teenage child can be one of the scariest things parents need to do. You’re putting trust in them to drive safely and cautiously, and giving them the freedom to explore on their own. But with so many stories of car accidents involving teenage drivers, it’s only natural for parents to be concerned and want to do what they can to avoid this disaster from happening. There also seems to be a trend of teens being more likely to be distracted drivers. The question is why is this true, and what can you as a parent do to help prevent that from being the case with your teenager? Let’s take a closer look.
Cell Phones Can Be Extremely Distracting
All you have to do is take a look at recent statistics showing how many teens own smartphones, and one of the most major contributing factors to distracted driving becomes clear. According to data from Statista, the vast majority of teens (more than 90%) have access to a smartphone regardless of household income. This is a statistic that only seems to increase year after year as smartphones become more accessible.
Parents often feel comforted by the fact that teens have a phone with them while driving, just in case there is an emergency. And while it’s true the phone will be helpful in case of an emergency, it can also lead to an incident that requires emergency assistance.
It is said over and over that all it takes is mere seconds to cause an accident or be involved in one. Taking your eyes off the road opens the door to potential danger. With a smartphone beeping, ringing, and alerting them it’s very hard to ignore that distraction and not check the screen. Even hands-free devices don’t eliminate the distraction factor, as teens will still take their eyes off the road to check the screen.
Ideally, if your teenager needs to make a phone call or check messages they should pull off the road into a parking lot, or somewhere safe, turn off the vehicle, and then check their phone. But let’s be realistic, how often does that happen? There is the whole FOMO (fear of missing out) factor that teens are constantly contending with, so if they don’t check the phone “immediately”, they could be missing out.
Don’t Add to the Distractions
And speaking of cellphone use while driving, it’s easy for parents to jump to the conclusion that their teen is being distracted by calls from friends but it can also be parents calling. This is an important reminder not to add to the distractions and avoid calling, texting, and messaging teens while you know they are driving. It’s okay to want to check on them, but have them contact you once they have safely arrived at their destination and they are no longer driving.
It’s Easy to Be Distracted by Vehicle Companions
Another potential distraction for teenage drivers is their vehicle companions. Getting wrapped up in conversations with friends or others in the car can cause teens to take their eyes off the road, grab their focus, and even slow their reaction time. It can be hard to focus on the conversation taking place, and the road around them.
They May Not Be As Adept at Tuning Things Out
Then there is the fact that teens don’t have as much experience as adults when it comes to tuning distractions out. It takes practice to understand what’s important and what’s not in the moment and block out needless distractions. They may not recognize when extra focus is needed.
Plenty of Gadgets and Items to Fuss With
Perhaps your teen is good at not looking at their phone or using it while driving, but let’s not forget there are other gadgets and items to fuss with. Distractions can include such things as changing the radio station, fiddling with an infotainment screen, adjusting mirrors while driving, eating, drinking, applying makeup, and so forth. When you include all these items it seems almost impossible to remove all distractions from the car.
Any time they are multitasking and doing more than just driving, it counts as a distraction.
Is Your Teenager a Victim in a Car Accident?
Maybe you have done everything right, educating your teenager on the importance of driving without distractions, and they have listened and followed everything you said. Just because they are a responsible and cautious driver doesn’t mean everyone else is. What happens if your teenager is a victim in a car accident thanks to the distracted and negligent driving of another teenager? Not all teens will be as cautious as yours.
In this situation, the top priority is the physical well-being of your teenager. Immediate medical care should be sought for injuries, and once they are stabilized it’s time to contact us. We have plenty of experience with motor vehicle accidents, including those caused by distracted driving. Whether it was another teenager behind the wheel or an adult, we will hold the negligent party responsible and fight for your rights.
Handling a motor vehicle accident claim by yourself is never a good idea. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, so getting fair compensation without the help of one of our experienced lawyers isn’t very likely. We know how to fight, how to prove your teen’s case, and how to get fair compensation. Compensation can then be used to cover current and future medical bills, loss of work, and pain and suffering.
We encourage you to visit one of our Caddell Reynolds offices in person at:
- Fort Smith – 122 North 11th St., Fort Smith, AR 72901
- Fayetteville – 509 E Millsap Rd., Suite 102, Fayetteville, AR 72703
- Rogers – 211 North Second St. Rogers, AR 72756
- Jonesboro – 3000 Browns Lane, Jonesboro, AR 72401
- Little Rock – 10809 Executive Center Drive, Suite 111, Little Rock, AR 72211
You can also call now for a free consultation at (800) 671-4100. We want to hear from you so we can fight for your teen’s rights.