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Illinois Teen Driver Fatalities Down Seventh Consecutive Year

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Car Accidents

As children grow up and turn into teenagers, they slowly begin to live more like adults to help prepare them for the real world. It is an important and vital process, but there are also situations that can be extremely dangerous. One of the most dangerous — and often deadly for teens — is driving.

It takes experience to learn how to effectively handle dangerous driving situations, such as a car suddenly stopping in front of you, a blown tire, or poor weather conditions. The only way to gain experience, of course, is by doing. But even a well-equipped driver can become the victim of a fatal automobile accident, so what does that say for teens?

Thankfully, changes and education are making all the difference in Illinois. In fact, for the seventh consecutive year in a row, teen driver fatalities are down. Of course, even one death is too many, which is exactly why it is so important that parents continue to discuss and enforce safe driving with their teens. The following tips should provide parents with a springboard.

Invest in a Safe Driving Course

As mentioned previously, inexperience is one of the leading causes of accidents for teens. Safe driving courses can give your teen supervised safe driving courses can give them extra practice time, and it can provide them with helpful tips and skills for keeping safe while on the road.

Choose a Safe Car

While cost is often a factor when looking at a vehicle for teenagers, parents should avoid sacrificing safety for the sake of money. Important features to look for include anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, head restraints, and electronic stability control. Though likely more costly, they can go a long way in possibly helping to save your teen’s life, should an accident occur.

Create and Enforce a “Safe Driving Contract”

In 2008, the state of Illinois implemented a Graduated License Program for teens to help keep them safe. The numbers show it has been highly effective, dropping teen driver deaths nearly 60 percent since it was implemented (155 deaths in 2007 to 66 deaths in 2014). But parents may want to add a safe driving contract into the mix to ensure that, even if your teen has graduated to a full license, they are still protected by their contract. A few ideas include:

  • Restrict nighttime driving, unless there is an adult in the car: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that most fatal teen accidents occur after nine at night. A number of factors may be at play, including decreased visibility, an influx of intoxicated drivers, and even just different road conditions like ice or snow can all play a part. In the end, it is better to restrict nighttime driving;
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car: One of the more exciting aspects of driving as a teen is being able to cart your friends around. Unfortunately, statistics show that, the more people there are in the car, the more distracted the driver is. Avoid allowing younger siblings to accompany older, driving siblings, and limit friends to maybe one friend (or maybe two, at the most);
  • Set a no-tolerance drinking policy: Whether it is one drink or twenty, make sure your teen understands the dangers of drinking and driving. Come up with a backup plan, just in case they ever should find themselves intoxicated (or the passenger of an intoxicated driver). Even if you think your teen may never fall victim, it is an important policy to have and discuss often;
  • Supervise driving as often as you can: You are a wealth of knowledge and experience for your teen. Though it may be trying or taxing, or your teen may not like it, you may want to include a certain number of hours per week that you must ride along. Another idea is to continue to restrict alone driving time until your teen has accumulated a set amount of driving hours. Either way, you can provide helpful tips and may even teach them to catch dangers they might not have otherwise seen without you.
  • Give them a sense of responsibility: Whether it is putting a certain amount of money toward the car, paying for a part (or all of the insurance), chipping in for repairs, and/or paying for their own gas, teens are much more likely to treat their vehicle with respect if they have to invest something into it;
  • And talk with your teen often: Driving is a privilege. It is also a huge danger. Talk with them often. Discuss and enforce your rules about alcohol consumption, passengers in the car, and the use of cell phones while driving. Discuss why these are risks. Help them understand their responsibility as a driver. Above all, be the “bad guy” and take away their privilege if you have to.

Teen Driver Accident? Seek Help from an Experienced Attorney

Even with all the education and experience in the world, accidents can and do still happen. If one happens to your teen, and you or they believe they were not at fault, it is crucial that you seek experienced legal help. Not only will insurance companies try to limit compensation, they or other drivers may even try to pin the blame on your teen because they are less experienced. The law firm of Salvi & Maher, LLP can help. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Lake County automobile accident attorneys, call 847-662-3303 today.




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