Safe Driving Tips For Phoenix Teens
By Zachary Mushkatel on November 29, 2017
Parents throughout the country have good reason to be worried when they hand the keys to their car over to their teenager. Simply put: Teens face a high risk of getting into a car accident. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are actually three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over age 20.
In light of WalletHub’s recent ranking of the “best and worst states for teen drivers,” parents in Arizona may have greater cause for worry than parents in many parts of the country. The financial advice website analyzed the “teen-driving environment” in all 50 states across three categories: Safety, economic environment and driving laws. Based on the site’s analysis, Arizona has the 11th-worst teen-driving environment in the U.S.
The WalletHub study indicates that Arizona lacks many of the Graduated Licensing (GDL) program requirements that safety experts recommend, which contributes to the state’s poor ranking. (You can learn more about Arizona’s GDL program by going to the Arizona Department of Transportation website.)
As the parent of a teen driver in Arizona, you may have concerns about your child’s safety. Here, we provide six tips that parents can use to instill safe driving habits in their teen and to better prepare the child for the road.
1. Practice Driving with Your Teen
“Driver inexperience” serves as the leading cause of car accidents among teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To become a better driver, your teen needs practice – not on his or her own but, instead, with a parent’s guidance and supervision. You should give your teen the chance to drive with you in many different types of conditions and situations, including day and night driving. Spending this time with your teen will help to prepare the teen for whatever he or she faces when driving alone.
2. Enroll Your Teen in Supplemental Driver’s Education Classes
Most teens in Arizona take a basic driver’s education course. However, does this course really help your teen to become a safe and confident driver? As a parent, you may find that your teen will benefit from taking an additional, supplemental driver’s education class. This class should allow your teen to develop proper defensive driving techniques
3. Prevent Your Teen from Texting and Driving
A few years ago, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of thousands of crashes involving teen drivers. The researchers found that six out of every 10 of those accidents involved driver distraction. According to the study, the most common forms of distraction that cause teen crashes are:
● Interacting with one or more passengers
● Using a cell phone
● Looking at something in the vehicle
● Looking at something outside the vehicle
● Singing or dancing to music
● Reaching for an object.
As a parent, you should talk with your teen about the importance of staying focused on the road when he or she is driving. Establish and enforce rules about talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. For instance, you may make it a rule for your teen to turn off his or her cell phone once the teen gets into the car. Of course, you can set an example. You should never use your cell phone when you are behind the wheel, either.
4. Use a GPS Tracking App
Cell phones can make driving dangerous for teenagers. However, you can put those phones to good use as well. For example, you can enable a GPS tracking device on the phone. This device will allow you to track your teen’s location whenever the teen is in the car. Many parents find that the ability to monitor their teen drivers helps to promote safe driving. Of course, it also gives parents much needed peace of mind.
5. Keep Your Teen Off the Road At Night
Driving at night is more challenging than driving during the day. You have less visibility. Also, you can easily get distracted by the glare from the headlights of approaching cars. To become a safe nighttime driver, your teen will need a great deal of practice. Until your teen gets this practice, you should refrain from letting the child drive alone at night.
6. Do Not Let Your Teen Drive With Other Teens in the Car
When your teen driver has several other teens in the car with him or her, the teen’s risk of getting into a crash rises dramatically. As The Washington Post reports, a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 are “almost eight times more likely to get into a fatal accident when they are carrying two or more teen passengers.” When teens ride with other teens, they can get distracted. They also may be more prone to engage in risky driving behavior like speeding.
To address this issue, the Arizona legislature passed the Teen Driver Safety Act in 2007. The law prohibits drivers who are under age 18 from driving with other teens in their car for the first six months after they receive a driver’s license. After those six months pass, the teen can drive with as many passengers as the teen wishes.
However, as a parent, you clearly have the right to impose your own passenger restrictions. You should consider setting a strict limit on how many teens can ride along with your child.
Contact Our Phoenix Car Accident Attorneys Today
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, our dedicated Phoenix auto accident lawyers have helped many accident victims to recover full and fair compensation for their losses. If your teen driver was involved in a serious car crash in Arizona, or if a teen driver struck your vehicle, we can help. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm today to set up your free initial consultation. We have offices in Scottsdale, Surprise and Sun City, Glendale, Peoria and we represent clients in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.