Crash data from a new AAA Mid-Atlantic report says that licensed, underaged drivers, ages 16-17, are just as likely to get into deadly car crashes from Monday through Friday between 3 and 5 p.m. as they are between 9 p.m. 2 a.m on weekend nights.
Data shows that between 2002 and 2005:
· 1,100 underaged, teen drivers were killed in the hours right after school.
· 1,237 were killed during the weekends.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging parents to be just as vigilant when monitoring their teen drivers after school as they are on the weekends. Maryland and 43 either states have already imposed driving limits for licensed teen drivers who are forbidden to drive between 12 and 5 A.M. unless they are accompanied by a guardian or parent or driving for work-related reasons.
The University of Maryland’s Deparment of Public Community and Health offers a number of tips for parents with underaged teen drivers, including:
· Teach by example. Be a courteous and careful driver.
· Teach your teen defensive driving-to look ahead to anticipate problems and be prepared to react.
· Use the Maryland Parent-Teen Driving Agreement with your newly licensed teen to set up specific driving rules and consequences.
· Restrict your teen from driving under high-risk conditions, such as driving at night and with teen passengers, and consider delaying the age your teen gets a license.
· Tell your teen to keep his or her cool with aggressive or angry drivers.
· Insist that teens and their passengers always wear their seat belts.
· Tell your teen when they drive that they are responsible for their passengers and must make them buckle up.
· Tell your teen that they will be responsible for paying the fines if they are caught not wearing their seat belt by a police officer.
· Discuss further consequences such as loss of driving privileges if your teen is caught not wearing a seat belt.
· Prohibit or strictly limit the number of teen passengers.
· Take the time to accompany your teen to a new location before he or she has to drive somewhere new on his or her own.
· Talk to your teen about the dangers of outside distractions and “rubber-necking.”
· Don’t allow your teen to drive if he or she is emotionally upset.
Maryland’s graduating licensing program, known as the Rookie Driver, allows new teen drivers and any new driver (regardless of age) to progress through three stages. They must meet numerous requirements before being awarded a full driver’s license:
1. Permit: A learner’s permit allows a new driver to begin the learning process of operating a motor vehicle.
2. Provisional License: After gaining experience driving with a learner’s permit for 6 months, maintaining a conviction-free driving record and completing a standardized driver education course, new drivers are eligible for a provisional license.
3. Driver’s License: The State of Maryland’s full driver’s license is a privilege awarded to drivers who progress through the Rookie Driver graduated licensing system.
Maryland Teen Driving Statistics:
· In Maryland, the number of motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, per 10,000 licensed teen drivers, has been on the rise since 1996 (NSC, 2003, p.10).
· On average, during the period from 1996-2000, more than 1 out of every 10 licensed Maryland teen drivers was involved in a motor vehicle crash (NSC, 2003, p.10).
· During an 11-month period, from summer 2001 to summer 2002, ten teenagers died in automobile accidents in Southern Maryland. The drivers of these automobiles were all 15 to 18 years of age. (Sheinin, 2003, p. DO1) .
· In 2001, 21,188 young drivers were involved in reported traffic crashes in Maryland (NSC, 2001, chap. 4, p.1).
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents people who have been injured due to the negligence of another driver. They also represent the families of those who have been killed due to someone else’s negligence in a vehicle-related accident. Contact Lebowitz and Mzhen for a free consultation.
Afterschool Hours Are Prime For Teen Accidents, WJZ.com, October 25, 2006.
Family Guide To Teen Driver Safety, NSC.org