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Talk to your teen about safe driving practices

Getting your driver’s license is a huge milestone, but teens do not have the maturity and driving experience adults have and thus are more prone to causing motor vehicle accidents. The following are some behaviors parents in Montana can address with their teens before they become a problem.

Distracted driving

Teens may not appreciate the dangers of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens who dial a phone number while driving have a six-fold chance of causing a car accident. If your teen is texting and driving this increases the chance that they will cause a car accident increases 23-fold. Using a cell phone while behind the wheel incorporates three types of distraction: visual distractions, physical distractions and cognitive distractions. Any of these distractions can lead to a motor vehicle accident.

Speeding

Teens may take more risks behind the wheel than adults and one of these risks is speeding. The NHTSA reports that in 2018 speeding played a role in 28% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. Moreover, as teens gain confidence behind the wheel, they may be more apt to speed. One study noted that between 2000 to 2011, teen drivers were involved in over 19,000 car accidents in which speeding was a factor.

Drunk driving

While teens cannot legally consume alcohol, many will skirt this law and drink anyways. However, they may not appreciate the dangers of drinking and driving which could lead to a drunk driving crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that teens are more apt than adults to lose their life in a drunk driving accident. In fact, 16% of teens between the ages of 15 to 18 involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident in 2018 had been consuming alcohol.

Drowsy driving

Teens generally need more sleep than adults but given their many daily activities they often do not sleep enough. Still, they will go about their day (and night) even if they are fatigued. This can lead teens to make the risky decision to drive while drowsy. In 2019, nearly 700 people in the U.S. lost their lives in a drowsy driving crash. Some studies estimate that drowsiness was a factor in over 10% to 20% of motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities.

Learn more about motor vehicle accidents

It is important for parents to discuss the importance of not taking risks while behind the wheel. Parents in Missoula who want to learn more about car crashes are invited to explore our firm’s website for further information.