A commercial truck accident killed two Portland teenagers earlier this month, reported news station KOIN. The crash occurred on Highway 47 north of Forest Grove during the morning of April 7, 2014. The driver of the truck was not injured. The report indicates that law enforcement had not yet determined precisely how the accident occurred.
Preventing Teen Auto Accidents
Sometimes there is nothing a parent or a teen driver can do to prevent an auto accident, and an injury or death results. When that happens, you should contact a personal injury or wrongful death attorney to determine what options you have. But some of these tragedies can be prevented by parents setting down and teens following some important rules for driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has started a “Parents Central” campaign to get the word out about these rules. The Agency suggests the following rules:
#1 No Cell Phones
The Agency reports that talking on a cell phone while driving decreases even an experienced driver’s reaction time to that of a 70-year-old. Texting is even worse as it requires taking both the eyes off the road and a hand off the steering wheel. It is a manual, visual, and mental distraction all at the same time.
#2 No Extra Passengers
In particular, no extra teenage passengers should be allowed in the car. NHTSA reports that teens are two and a half times more likely to engage in certain risky driving behaviors if there is another teenager in the car, and that the risk of a fatal accident goes up as the number of teenagers in the car increases.
#3 No Speeding
In 2011 speeding was a factor for 35% of teen drivers in fatal accidents.
#4 No Alcohol
While it is illegal for minors to possess or consume alcohol, NHTSA reports that drivers aged 15 to 20 are at a significantly higher risk for death in crashes involving alcohol than adults are. While underage illegal use of alcohol should never be condoned, it is very important to make it clear to your children from a young age that drunk driving accidents are extremely dangerous and that drinking and driving is a much more serious offense than just drinking.
#5 Always Buckle Up
Always means always. Make it the rule that your teen drivers wear seatbelts every single time they get in a car, whether they are driving across the country or just moving the car out of the driveway to the street. This is not just a rule for teens; it should be the rule for your children from the moment they are old enough and large enough to not use special child restraints. And it’s a rule for adults as well; if you don’t wear your seatbelt when you drive a mile to the store, you can’t expect your child to act any differently when he or she drives. The same rules apply for passengers, whether in a car driven by you, a car driven by your teen, or even a car driven by a professional such as a taxi driver. Seat belts save lives.
Often times those who don’t wear seatbelts complain that they are uncomfortable. And they certainly can be. If this is your teen’s (or your own) excuse, see if your car has adjustable seatbelts and make sure they are properly adjusted for you and your teen’s height and weight. If that does not work, there are a plethora of aftermarket products designed to make seatbelts more comfortable. Find one that works for you and your teen.
If you have any further questions, or if you want to file a car accident claim, contact an Oregon accident attorney for help today.
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