One of the biggest milestones for a teen is the day they get their driver’s license. A license represents another step that much closer to becoming an adult and gives them the freedom to go places without relying on their parents. But it is critical for teen drivers to understand that along with that freedom comes responsibility – the responsibility to adhere to safe driving behaviors and to obey the rules of the road.
Unfortunately, not all teens take this advice. Instead, when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they crank the music up and drive too fast, worried more about their coolness factor than the hazards they are creating. Statistics bear out those hazards, with car accidents the leading causes of teen death. There are more than 3,000 teen drivers involved in fatal car crashes every year, and approximately 2,500 of those drivers are also killed.
- Almost 60 percent of teens killed in car accidents are not wearing their seat belts.
- Twenty percent of teens killed in car accidents are under the influence of alcohol.
- Ten percent of teens killed in car accidents are engaged in distracted driving behaviors.
Keeping Your Teen Driver Safe
It is important for parents to not only discuss safety while driving, as well as consequences for failure to keep to the rules, but parents also need to practice what they preach and set the example. Providing your teen with supervised and professional driving lessons can also help establish a solid foundation for them to become safe drivers.
It is also important to arm them with the information and tools they need in the event they are in a crash. Just as with adults, despite how safe a driver your teen may be, there is always the high risk of encountering another driver who is engaging in negligent or reckless behavior. Make sure your teen is aware of the following steps if they are involved in a car accident:
- A teen’s first instinct after the crash will likely be to call a parent. It is important that either the parent or the teen also call 911 to report the crash, even if no one appears to be seriously injured. It is crucial to have law enforcement show up at the scene to document the crash and any evidence that could be used in a car accident claim.
- If the teen is physically able, they should use their phone to take photos of the scene of the crash. Make sure they know to take photos of their vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, injuries anyone has, license plates of both vehicles, and photos of the area around the scene, such as landmarks, tire marks, traffic lights and/or signs, etc.
- Make sure your teen is aware that if they are in an accident, they should take notes of any information that could be helpful in an accident claim. Some of this information could include date and time of the accidents, road conditions, weather conditions, make and model of the other vehicle, any witnesses to the crash, and the badge numbers of any police at the scene. They also need to make sure they get the other driver’s contact information, including their insurance company.
Let a Norfolk Car Accident Attorney Help
If your teen has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, the result can mean physical, emotional, and financial losses. Injuries often mean expensive medical bills; the more severe the injury, the more astronomical the bills.
If your teen’s injuries are serious enough that they are missing school and need cannot be left alone, this could also cause a financial hardship for your family if you have to take time off from work to care for your teen, take them to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and any other traveling involved with their injuries. A long-term or permanent injury can be devastating to a family’s financial situation.
When an accident is caused by another driver who behaved recklessly or negligently, Virginia law allows victims to take legal action in order to obtain financial compensation for all of these financial expenses. Victims can also pursue damages for losses that are not economic, such as pain and suffering, scarring emotional anguish, and more.
If you would like to discuss your situation, contact our office to speak with an experienced Virginia car accident attorney. Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has been advocating for accident victims for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve.