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Teens at High Risk of Traffic Accidents in Tuscaloosa this Spring

Feb 13, 2013 - Truck Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

A teen driver near Huntsville reportedly hit a guard rail and plummeted into Flint River, while reportedly swerving to miss another vehicle. closeuppinkdressflower

Our Tuscaloosa personal injury attorneys know young drivers are at high risk of an accident through spring and early summer. There is no indication that alcohol was a factor in this crash, but we know drunk driving is just one concern with prom and graduation celebrations on the horizon.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that motor vehicle accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for American teens, with roughly seven youth between the ages of 16 and 19 dying every single day on the roadway. In 2010, that was approximately 2,700 killed and another 282,000 seriously injured. When you account for number of miles driven, statistics show that teen drivers in this age group are three times as likely as those over age 20 to be in a fatal wreck.

This is all before you factor in events like prom and graduation.

Authorities and advocacy programs do a lot to try to warn teens about the dangers each spring — including the dangers associated with drinking and driving during these events. Often, dramatic examples are used, such as crumpled vehicles outside schools. Saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints are also commonplace. Inevitably, though, there will be those who refuse to heed the warnings.

Alcohol isn’t the only risk factor. Distraction is a huge problem, and teens are far more likely to be driving with their peers – something that is statistically proven to increase distraction and drive up accident rates.

Drowsy driving is another risk factor, especially as the end of the school year approaches. Make sure your teen isn’t stretched too thin. School, sports, work and special functions can quickly lead to burnout without proper rest and nutrition. Beginning the conversation with your teen now can best ensure a safe spring and summer travel season.

For parents, having the conversation is critical. Make it a priority to drive home the following points:

  • Wear your seat belt, every time, no exceptions – and make sure others in the car do as well.
  • Concentrate on the road ahead of you. (It may be necessary to limit the number of peer passengers in the vehicle with your teen).
  • Have your directions to each destination before you head out.
  • No matter what, never ever get behind the wheel drunk or get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. (Parents, make sure your teen knows that if they feel unsafe, you are available to come and get them no matter what.)
  • In addition to a cell phone, take a pair of comfortable shoes for driving so you aren’t driving in bulky dress shoes or high heels.
  • Parents should know where their children are headed – both before and after a night function. Set a time or a location to have your child check in, at least briefly. This should give you a chance as well to gauge whether your teen is under the influence.

Additional Resources:

Teen Driver Goes off Bridge; Plunges into Flint River, Feb. 7, 2013, By Ty Watwood, Robert Reeves and Tim Hanson, WHNT 19 News

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