Teens Skipping Out on GDL Program Face Serious Accident Risks

Teens Skipping Out on GDL Program Face Serious Accident Risks

A Southeast Missouri weekend accident took the life of a local 16-year-old. According to ABC8, the accident happened on Missouri Highway 80 near Matthews. Officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol report that the young driver lost control of his vehicle when he veered off the road and flipped over.

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Accident reports indicate that he was not wearing his seat belt when the accident happened. He was transported to a Cape Girardeau hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Our St. Charles car accident lawyers understand that teenagers learn the most about safe and responsible driving habits through the state’s graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program. Unfortunately, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers nationwide. But the GDL programs can’t do its job if teens aren’t participating. According to recent studies, teenagers are skipping the program, and all of its restrictions, and just waiting until they turn 18 to get an unrestricted driver’s license. Others think that many are waiting until they turn 18 because, among other things, economic pressures make driving too expensive.

Large social and economic disparities in driver’s license rates and the timing of when teens get their license were identified in the recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Among adults who lived in a home with an annual income of roughly $60K, about 60 percent were licensed within one year of the state’s minimum age. More than 70 percent of these individuals had their license before they turned 18. On the other hand, among young adults who lived in homes with an annual income of less than $20K, less that 2- percent were licensed within one year of the state’s minimum age and only about a quarter had a driver’s license before they were 18.

Regardless of when our teenagers get their driver’s license and get behind the wheel. It’s important that we’re guiding them in the right direction and providing them with a safe foundation for a lifetime of responsible driving.

You want to make sure that you’re spending plenty of time with your teen. Ride along with them often so you can get a first-hand look at their driving abilities. Step in with suggestions when needed. It’s true that parents are the most influential people in a young driver’s career.

When you’re behind the wheel and you’ve got a teenage passenger, you want to make sure that you’re leading by example. Do the same as you ask of them.

When they’re able to drive without you, make sure they still following safety rules. Make sure you enact a curfew and passenger limits. Driving after dark and piling in the passengers is a sure recipe for disaster. Both of these factors significantly increase their risks for an accident. Consider jotting down all of these household rules in a parent-teen driving contract. Have all parties sign the contract, and make sure that it includes the consequences for breaking the rules. This is going to help you to paint a clear picture of your expectations of your young driver once they’re behind the wheel.

More Blog Entries:

St. Louis Injury Lawyers Encourage Parents and Teens to Talk About Safe Driving, St. Louis Injury Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2013

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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