Do you know what is the “leading cause of death for U.S. teens“? Car crashes. It’s disturbing to think that, as a country, we lose more teenagers to car crashes, most of which are entirely preventable. What can be done to reverse this trend?
One popular measure that is required of California teens who want to obtain their licenses before the age of 18 is the completion of a driver’s education and driver training course. Secondary schools and DMV-licensed providers offer these classes to our young people.
Under California law, driver education and driver training must include the following components:
- At least 25 hours of instruction, which may be conducted in a classroom, as home study, or on the Internet;
- At least 6 hours of training behind the wheel of a car; and
- At least 50 hours of supervised driving, including 10 at night.
The hope is that exposing new drivers to accurate information about good driving technique and risks will help reduce the likelihood that they will be in a crash.
For driver education and training programs to work, however, teens must implement what they learn. In fact, a large-scale review conducted for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety explained that “[p]eople in general do not always minimize their risks, and good attitudes are often not expressed in actual good behavior. Lasting behavior leading to lower risk performance in all health and safety fields is much harder to accomplish than is generally understood.”
Parents play an important role in teaching and supporting teens but also in imposing consequences and withholding privileges when expectations are not met.
Graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, which phase-in driving privileges, also help. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports “significant reductions” in crash deaths “with GDL laws that include age requirements, a waiting period of at least three months before the intermediate stage, a restriction on nighttime driving, 30 or more hours of supervised driving and a restriction on carrying passengers or the number and age of passengers carried.”
Despite our best efforts, teens are often involved in serious accidents. Sorting out who is responsible for a crash is tough and often requires an examination of all of the evidence after the wreck. If you or a family member were wrongfully injured in an accident, call us at 888.777.1776 or use our online contact form. Delays can hurt your case, so please don’t wait.