Parental involvement critical in reducing the risk of car accidents involving teenagers

Parents can go a long way toward helping teenagers avoid a car accidents in Cape Coral or Fort Myers by spending more time with them during the driver’s education process, according to the results of a new Study by the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety.

More than a year ago, our Cape Coral Accident attorneys reported the dangers on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog after an insurance study found Cape Coral the deadliest city of its size in American for teen car accidents.

The New York Times reports that most teens are allowed to get driver’s licenses despite exhibiting a need for extra training behind the wheel — particularly when it comes to challenging driving situations like night driving, driving in heavy traffic or driving in heavy rain or bad weather.

“One of the best things parents can do to reduce the risk is to spend as much time as possible with their children to provide guidance driving in a variety of situations so they can gain experience and competence,” said Peter Kissinger, chief executive of the foundation. “If they do, it will have a significant impact on the teenager’s later driving experience.”

Nearly half of all parents said they had concerns about a teen’s abilities in one or more areas but one-third permitted teenagers to get their license within a month of becoming eligible. The study, which is one of the first to be conducted on the interaction between parent and child during the driver’s education process, also found significant differences in the amount of time parents spent helping their children learn to drive.

Nationwide, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2008, a total of 6,428 motorists were killed in accidents involving teen drivers. Almost 10 percent of those deaths –516– occurred right here in Florida. Only California and Texas reported more fatal car accidents involving teen drivers.

The National Safety Council noted that the need for training does not stop when a teen receives his or her license; the first year is particularly critical. “If they knew the risk, they would take a much more active role,” said the NSC’s David Teater, of the parents of young drivers.

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