If you have a teen in your house that is of driving age, you are probably wrestling with how to deal with them once they get their driver’s license. Virtually every teen looks forward to the day when they can drive by themselves without an adult in the car, but we also know that teens are less experienced, more emotional, and more prone to make poor judgments while behind the wheel.
There are number of things that parents can do to help keep their teens safe behind the wheel:
Understand the Hazards Facing Teen Drivers
As we talked about earlier, teen drivers have much more of a tendency to make critical errors in judgment that can lead to a crash. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that three of the most common causes of teen driving accidents were failure to detect and respond effectively to adverse various hazards, speeding or driving too fast for road conditions, and distracted driving. These are some of the areas that you need to focus on the most when your teen is practicing driving with their learner’s permit.
Understand the Pennsylvania Junior License Restrictions
Drivers that are under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania receive a junior’s license before graduating up to an unrestricted license. Be aware that the junior’s license requires sanctions for high risk drivers – a 90-day license suspension for any driver on a junior’s license who accumulates six or more points or is convicted of one excessive speeding violation (driving 26 mph or more over the speed limit). Junior drivers are also not allowed to drive between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM unless it is for employment or charitable work, and they may not carry more than one other passenger under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member. After six months, this limit is increased to three non-family passengers who are under 18.
Educate your Teen and Put Them Under Contract
Before your teen ever starts driving on their own, it would be a good idea to sit down with them to discuss not only the hazards that they need to watch out for, but also go over all of the rules that they will be required to follow. These should include:
- Having themselves and all passengers wear seatbelts at all times.
- Driving within the speed limit and obeying all other traffic laws.
- Never driving while intoxicated or with another intoxicated person in the vehicle.
- Not allowing anyone else to drive the vehicle.
- Not allowing alcohol, drugs, or weapons to be in the vehicle.
- Never concealing any warnings or tickets received, or accidents they are involved in.
If you are looking for a template, AAA has a parent teen driving contract that you can have them review and sign. This way, your agreement will be in writing and they cannot plead ignorance later on if they break any of the rules.
Give your Teen Access to Roadside Assistance
Many insurers offer roadside assistance for a nominal fee. If you do not currently have it through your insurer, consider adding this option and give your teen the phone number to call if they ever need help with a flat tire, engine trouble, or any other vehicle problems. You might also want to consider joining a motor club (such as AAA) for more comprehensive roadside assistance services.
Use Technology to Help Keep Your Teens Safe
Although you may have thoroughly educated your teens on driver safety, you might want to go one step further and put some safeguards in place to help ensure that they will follow through with your instructions. One thing that could help a lot is using an app (of which there are many on the market) that will block them from phone calls and electronic messages while they are driving. Some of these apps can also track where your teen is driving, so you know that they are where they should be, and they can send you a notification if something is not right.
Set a Good Example for Your Teen
Finally, we know that kids imitate the behaviors of their parents far more than we even realize. With this in mind, be sure you are modeling good driving behavior. Always wear your seatbelt, put your phone away when you are driving, and follow all of the traffic laws. This will help ensure that everyone stays safe on the roadways.
Injured in a Vehicle Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Assistance
Following the above recommendations will help keep your teen safe behind the wheel. Unfortunately, however, you cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. If you or anyone in your family suffered injury in an auto accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Before dealing with the insurance company, contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman to discuss your case and legal options.
Call our office today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online for a free consultation with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!