By Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert
Teen drivers. If you’re like many parents, you think about two very important questions: 1) where did the time go, and 2) how can I keep my child safe?
With a good driver’s education and by choosing safe vehicles, we can do our part to keep kids out of harm’s way. But when it comes to the choices they make behind the wheel, we can only do so much.
A recent SUV rollover accident in La Jolla reminds us that teen drivers need parental guidance as much as possible when it comes to staying safe on the road.
Investigators say that a Ford Expedition carrying 16 minors rolled over in an accident Saturday as it was driving away from a house party. The vehicle was only equipped to carry 7 people. Video footage also shows a beer can near the scene of the accident.
“Very scary, all weekend we were talking about it," said one of the parents in an interview with NBC San Diego.
Five teenagers were reportedly injured as a result of the car accident. According to reports, potential tickets may be issued for unrestrained passengers, an open container and unsafe speed. But no citations have yet been issued as the accident continues to be investigated.
"Hopefully all these kids will go home and learn that driving car is serious business and can lead to some serious stuff if not done properly," a neighbor near the scene of the accident told NBC San Diego.
TEEN ACCIDENTS: PREVENTION THROUGH EDUCATION
It goes without saying: teens will ultimately make their own choices. But as parents, we can influence the choices our children make with the right education and reinforcement. When it comes to preventing teen accidents, consider the following steps and help keep La Jolla and the greater San Diego area a safer place for everyone.
ESTABLISH A PARENT-TEEN DRIVING CONTRACT.
Driving is a serious responsibility. Ensure your child understands the seriousness of driving by establishing a
Write down your rules and reinforce them with consequences. When it comes to drinking, it may be a good idea to give your teen the ability to call you for a free ride home. Don’t pressure your child to make bad choices on account of the contract; instead, think of the best ways to ensure that your child stays safe.
, a study found that parents who weren’t afraid to say no and who established hard rules had teens who were four times less likely to engage in risky behavior. The study showed that teen drivers actually thrive under parental leadership.
Know the parents of your teen’s friends. It’s a good idea to establish rules with them, too. Pledge to host parties without alcohol and maintain a pact to monitor each others kids when they are at your home. And remember, teens live in a new age today. Here’s an eye-opener: twenty-eight percent of teens say they
have been at supervised parties where alcohol is available
INCREASE DRIVER EDUCATION.
Supplement your teen’s required driver education with yet more education. Whether it’s a refresher course or an additional training session, enrolling your teen in supplemental driver education is a solid way to reinforce basic driving skills.