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Preventing car accidents for teen drivers

For many kids across the country, getting a driver's license is a rite of passage. It's an exciting step in a teenager's life that often means more freedom and the ability to take on more responsibility that will help shape them into who they will be as adults. As good as all of that is, teen driving is not risk-free.

If you've got a young driver in your family here in Texas, you may be concerned with the best way to protect them. Your fears aren't unfounded, either. The Centers for Disease Control found that more than 2,300 teens died in car accidents in 2017, which translates to six deaths a day. If you want to keep your kids safe while driving, it is important to know the risks as well as strategies to stop accidents before they happen.

What increases the risk of a crash?

Though any teen could be involved in a car accident, there are certain characteristics that make the possibility more likely. Studies have found that teen male drivers are more likely to die in a crash than teen females. Also, kids who haven't had their licenses for very long are at a greater risk of a fatal crash. They don't have the experience that other drivers have to avoid getting into a collision. The risk of a crash also rises for teens with other passengers in the car.

Just like older drivers, teens also need to avoid dangerous driving behaviors that may increase the chance of being in a crash. This includes speeding, not wearing a seat belt, consuming alcohol, and driving at night or on the weekend. Teens are also more likely to engage in certain dangerous driving behaviors than older drivers, which further increases their risk.

What are some prevention strategies?

In addition to avoiding the dangerous driving behaviors listed above, parents need to talk to their kids about other potential risks while driving. This is especially true if parents have done these behaviors behind the wheel themselves. Talk to your teen about the dangers of driving while distracted or drowsy, and explain to them that reckless driving is more than just speeding.

Many states use a graduated driver's license system to help prepare teens for the responsibilities of driving, and Texas is one of them. Parents need to ensure that their teens complete the necessary requirements for driving based on their age and experience. Hopefully, your teen will never have a problem, but car accidents can happen to any driver. If someone else's carelessness puts your teen in danger, you have every right to hold that person accountable.

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