teen-driver-safetyTeen Driver Statistics:  Teenage drivers are involved in three times as many deadly crashes as all other motorists (Source: AAA).  This is likely due to the teen driver’s inexperience behind the wheel, coupled with immaturity, and a higher likelihood of taking risks such as speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, or driving under the influence of alcohol (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).  Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers – more than cancer, homicide, or suicide, combined (Source: AAA).  In light of these staggering statistics, the U.S. Congress has designated the third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  This campaign is designed to bring parents, teenagers, educators and community leaders together, to raise awareness and help prevent teen driver crashes.

Georgia’s Graduated Driver Licensing Laws:  To keep teenage drivers safer on the roads, all 50 states have enacted some form of “Graduated Driver Licensing” laws, which include a tiered system of age requirements, waiting periods, and permissions.  In Georgia, at age 15, teenagers can apply for an instructional or learner’s permit; this allows them to drive with a supervising adult (21 or older) licensed motorist.  At 16, the teenager can apply for an intermediate or provisional driver’s license; this allows them to drive between 5 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., with family member passengers only.  At 18, teenagers can apply for a full, unrestricted driver’s license.  (See http://www.dds.ga.gov/teens/index.aspx for the full list of application requirements and driving restrictions).

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Advice for Parents of Teen Drivers:  In addition to the Georgia laws and educational requirements, parents also play a key role in helping teenagers to become capable and confident drivers.  Parents should dedicate several hours a week to practice driving with the teenagers, coaching them in different driving conditions, weather conditions, and at different times of the day.  They should be patient, encouraging, and provide constructive feedback.  Some organizations recommend writing a “Parent-Teen Driving Agreement” in which teenagers agree to use safety belts, stay below the speed limit, restrict their number of passengers, and to leave their cell phones out of reach.  However, one of the best ways parents can teach their teen drivers is to serve as a good role model, and practice safe driving habits themselves.

Teenagers’ Responsibilities on the Road:  In order to develop their safe driving skills, teenagers have a number of responsibilities to which they must adhere.  They must commit to their driving education (both written and practical), being patient with their instructors and accepting feedback.  Teenagers should obey the speed limit, and always wear their seat belt.  They should avoid distractions such as their cell phones or loud music, and avoid riding in the car with other novice motorists.

Teenagers and their parents who follow the Georgia licensing procedures and educational recommendations should be well on their way to safe driving record.  However, accidents do happen.   If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a collision and needs help with a personal injury claim, give The Gore Law Firm a call today at (404) 436-1529.

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