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Teenage car accident: NHTSA urges parents to set good examples

Far too many teenagers suffer life-threatening injuries on California roads. With National Teen Driver Safety Week around the corner, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged parents to have regular talks their teens about driving safety. Many a car accident, hit-and-run collision or bicycle accident caused by negligent teenage driving resulted from bad examples set by adults. The NHTSA believes that ongoing conversation about the dangerous aspects of driving may ultimately serve to save lives.

In its campaign, the NHTSA highlights the major reasons for personal injury or death in teenage related accidents. Teenagers are regularly told not to drink and drive, but this behavior often stems from the example set by parents and other adults who often do not hesitate to drive after consuming alcohol. Teenagers may need to be reminded that the driver is responsible for the safety of his or her passengers, and part of that responsibility is to ensure all occupants of the vehicle are wearing safety restrains.

Parents will find it difficult to advise a teenager about the dangers of texting while driving if they are themselves guilty of this dangerous activity. Parents can set an example by refraining from using mobile devices while driving, and by pulling off the roadway at a safe place to make urgent calls or check and send text messages that cannot wait. The fourth and fifth threat often goes hand-in-hand and involve speeding and violating the law related to the limitations on the number of passengers permitted in a vehicle in specific circumstances.

Teens may need reminding of the increased risk that comes with higher speeds, and also of the very real possibility of causing the death or serious injury of a dear friend in a car accident. When irresponsible and negligent driving of teenagers does have such consequences, they and their parents or other owners of the vehicles involved may face claims for financial liability for medical or end-of-life expenses concerning accident victims. The number of lawsuits in California civil courts in which teenage drivers are alleged to be the responsible parties for the deaths of their friends is evidence of the problem.

Source:, “Drive Smart: Talk to Your Teen About the ‘5 to Drive‘”, Accessed on Oct. 9, 2015