A May 21, 2012 article in Tulsa World talks about the dangers that distracted teen drivers face. The article gives the example of a 16-year-old girl who got into an accident near Inola, Oklahoma, while talking to her friends while driving. Thankfully, in that accident, only one of the passengers suffered relatively minor injuries. However, the girl’s classmate was not as lucky. The other girl, also 16, overcorrected on a Rogers County road and died in the resulting accident. The two accidents were very similar and involved minor distractions caused by teens driving with young passengers on board.
Driving with younger passengers can be a significant risk for teen drivers. According to a study released recently by the AAA Foundation, the risk of car accident deaths for teen drivers increases exponentially with every passenger younger than 21 and quadruples with three or more young passengers. Teen drivers’ inexperience and their tendency to be more social than adults compound this risk. According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office’s statistics, teens make up 5.8 percent of Oklahoma’s licensed drivers but account for 12 percent of the state’s car accidents in 2010 and 7.5 percent of Oklahoma’s traffic fatalities.
There are many ways in which parents can help their teen drivers stay safe. First, it is important that parents encourage teens to speak if they feel that the teen driver with whom they are riding is not driving safely. Provide transportation alternatives for your teen. Spell out and enforce strict driving rules, including those specifying who can ride in the vehicle and curfews. Parents also play a key role in enforcing a no-passenger rule with their novice drivers.
If you or your teen has been injured due to the negligence of another party, please contact the experienced Oklahoma City traffic accident lawyers at the Maples Law Firm for a free and comprehensive consultation. We will fight for your rights and ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected. Please contact us at (888) 226-6159 to find out how we can help you.