The Ridgeland car accident lawyers offers tips for parents on how to teach their teens safe driving tips this summer.

Summer months offer freedom for teenagers: a chance to relax from the demands of school, a hang out at the local swimming pool and an opportunity for enterprising teens to earn spending money.

Unfortunately, summer also means teenagers drive more, contributing to an increase in crashes involving teenage drivers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows teen drivers pose a danger to other motorists as well as themselves.

Almost two-thirds of the people hurt or killed in wrecks involving teen drivers are people besides the young motorists, with crashes involving teen drivers injuring 371,645 people and killing 2,927 nationwide in 2013, the study shows.

In Mississippi, drivers age 15 to 20 were involved in 75 fatal crashes in 2013, representing 10 percent of the total fatal accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A recent crash involving a teen driver on May 16 claimed the lives of two Holmes County teens when their vehicle ran off Inside Horseshoe Road in Tchula, according to a Clarion-Ledger article.

Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said speeding appeared to be a factor in the crash that killed the two students from Central Holmes Christian School. A third teen in the vehicle was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for treatment of injuries. She was listed in good condition.

The families of people killed in accidents may have a right to seek compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver and in some cases bring a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal crash involving negligence.

Unfortunately, these types of deadly crashes are all too common during the summer. An analysis by AAA shows an average of 220 teen drivers were killed in car crashes in each summer month of 2013, up 43 percent compared to all other months.

The risk associated with teen driving during the summer continues even though the number of teen driving crashes involving injuries and deaths has dropped more than 50 percent nationwide over the last two decades.

What Parents Can Do

Talking to teens can be a challenge, as any parent knows.  It’s important for parents to take the time to have a serious talk with young drivers and explain the serious responsibility of driving and the danger of being on the roads. The National Safety Council offers tips for parents:

  • Because driving is a learning process, graduated driver’s licensing helps provide a learning curve for young drivers. In the first two years, teens should have a driving curfew. Remember, very little that is good happens after midnight. Young drivers typically aren’t allowed to have more than one passenger in the vehicle unless they are family members. In other words, a car full of teens is a recipe for disaster.
  • Require your teenager to practice driving before they hit the streets in a live situation. Have them start off driving during daylight hours, then add practice periods at night and in bad weather.
  • Understand the risks your child will face when taking the wheel on their own. Increasing practice time, limiting the number of passengers and reducing nighttime driving will help your teen driver arrive alive.
  • Require your teenager and passengers to wear seat belts at all time. It’s the law, and it will help reduce injuries during an accident.
  • Prohibit them from using a cell phone while driving. Texting is considered to be as dangerous as drunk driving, and talking on a cell phone diverts their attention from the roadway as well. All drivers need to keep their minds on the task, eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
  • Set clear and reasonable rules for your teen driver and make sure they follow them. Set up a written agreement outlining your expectations and the penalties. Use consequences if they violate the rules, such as taking away the keys.
  • Stay vigilant. Even if your teen has taken driver’s education and avoided accidents and speeding tickets during the first year, don’t stop reminding them of your expectations. Complacency behind the wheel is dangerous for all drivers, especially young ones.
  • Recognize that teen car crashes are the number one killer of teens, claiming the lives of thousands of young drivers nationwide each year. Parents are more likely to discuss the dangers of drinking, smoking and drug use than the danger of motor vehicle crashes, according to The Allstate Foundation.
  • Go to websites such as org to find more information about teen driver safety.

Good parenting requires open lines of communication. Telling children you care about their safety will encourage them to listen as you teach them about the responsibilities they face when they turn the key. Don’t allow your children to become another car accident statistic this summer.

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