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Friday, August 3, 2012

Teen Drivers and Traffic Tickets

"To tell or not to tell?" is a question a teen driver might ask, if they made a mistake while  driving and  received a traffic ticket.  If they have a good relationship with parents, even though they may be upset there is usually not a problem.  If the relationship is not very good, there could be a tendency to hide the fact that they did get a ticket.

Parents should be aware of this fact when teaching their child how to drive. It is something that should be talked about. Parents should be sure that they are aware of any problems and they can work with their child to correct any issues that they might be having.  Generally, if there is a contract between the teen driver and parents, it is one of the items that are included.

Some items that are usually in the contract include: 

I will
  • Wear my seat belt.
  • Have all my passengers wear a seat belt.
  • Lock my doors while driving.
  • Drive at safe speeds and obey traffic laws.

I will not
  • Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Be a passenger of someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Engage in stunts or racing.
  • Hide any tickets, warnings or collisions.
  • Allow anyone else to drive my car.
  • Take any passengers in my car, other than parents, until given permission.

The alternative to a contract is to set up some rules and possible consequences.                                        
Among them would be:   

  • No Alcohol or Drugs in the body or vehicle.
  • Always buckle up and make sure everyone else is buckled.
  • No talking or texting on cell phone.
  • Possible curfew per graduated license requirements.
  • Limit the number of passengers.
  • Tell us about a ticket and why it happened.

Recent research from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows that teen crashes are linked to the way teen and parents communicate and approach rules on safety. The better the communication and support from parents, the better the teen’s safety record.

Teenage drivers are more at risk for a motor vehicle crash that can cause injury or death because of lack of experience and risk taking behaviors. They are less able to respond to traffic hazards and they have less control.  In addition, they take more risks because of emotions, stress and peer pressure. Many teens think it is not really necessary to wear their seat belts.  Also, nighttime driving is more difficult and teens often do much of their driving at night. Almost 50% of teen fatalities happen at night.

The statistics for a 16 year-old driver show that they are 20 times more likely to have a car crash than any other licensed driver. It is considered to be the leading cause of death among 16-20 year-olds. They are about 10 percent of the licensed drivers but average about 12 to 14% of fatal motor vehicle crashes.

Therefore, it is most important to communicate with your teen driver and make sure that they tell you about any risks they may have taken as well as any traffic tickets they received.  Remember, parents, guardians, or the person that has taught the teen to drive, as well as the teen driver, must have patience, keep the lines of communication open and be sure that they set a good example.

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