Michael J. Gaffney Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, NY
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The vital role of parents in producing responsible teen drivers

Teenagers and automobiles on Staten Island could be dangerous combinations. Safety authorities say young drivers are more likely to be car accident victims than any other age group. For that reason, your responsibility as a parent of a teenage driver to instill the basics of safe driving is enormous.

According to nationwide statistics, the primary cause of death in teens between 16 and 19 years old is automobile accidents. Parents do not only play an important role in discussing safe driving but also in holding young drivers accountable for risky behavior behind the wheel.

What makes teen drivers more vulnerable?

According to safety authorities, the following factors typically contribute to car accidents involving teenagers:

  • More than half of teenage drivers and passengers who were involved in fatal crashes did not wear their seat belts.
  • The lack of maturity sometimes causes poor decision-making in young drivers.
  • Many accidents result from the lack of experience and skills.
  • Speeding is a common factor in teenage crashes because they are more inclined to take risks while driving.
  • Mobile phones, passengers, eating and other activities often distract teen drivers.
  • Sadly, impaired driving also plays a role in a significant number of teenage car accidents.

How can a parent be a positive influence?

You play an essential part in preventing your teenager from causing an accident that might also threaten the lives of passengers. The actions of parents typically serve as examples for their children, and the following practices might instill responsible driving behaviors in your teenager:

  • Be strict in holding your teen accountable. Take away driving privileges if he or she breaks the driving rules you set or gets a ticket or traffic citation.
  • Note that your children have been watching you for years. If your teen has witnessed you speeding, driving without wearing your seat belt, driving distracted or under the influence for years, you might struggle to change that perception now.
  • It might be wise not to let your teenager drive alone until he or she is ready. Even after passing the test, he or she might need to gain experience in various circumstances and conditions with you in the passenger seat.
  • Set clear rules related to nighttime driving, no friends as passengers, no texting or calling on a cell phone, etc.

What if…

Make sure your teenage child knows the consequences of negligent driving. You might be liable for damages if your child's negligence causes a crash. It is equally important to teach your children about the dangers of getting into a car with another teenage driver. In the unfortunate event of your child suffering injuries in such a crash, you might have grounds to pursue financial relief from the parents or guardian of the other driver — and the vehicle owner if applicable.

It could be a challenging process that might require the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer with experience in dealing with the civil justice system of New York could navigate the legal proceedings for you.

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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