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Sacramento, California

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Laura Mackie
Laura Mackie
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Teenage Drivers: A parental nightmare

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One of the most frightening aspects of being the parent of a 16 year old is the knowledge that your teenager will soon be driving. Experience gleaned from dealing with the legal fallout associated with car wrecks is a burden to every litigator/parent.

Researchers tell us that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury and death among adolescents 16 to 19 years of age. The first six months and 3,000 miles of driving appear to be especially risky for newly licensed drivers. Important skills involving perception, anticipation and avoidance of risk develop gradually over time and many miles of driving. Lacking these vital skills, our teenagers are seldom, if ever, prepared for the challenges routinely encountered on the open road.

So what, if anything, can be done to positively impact the driving habits of teenage drivers? Researchers from the National Institutes of Health tell us that teen drivers might get into fewer auto accidents if they had improved driver’s training, were required to complete an additional step before becoming fully licensed, and parents closely supervised them as they learned to drive. These same researchers tell us that parental involvement is by far and away the most important ingredient missing from the average drivers education program for our teenagers.

Additionally, parents can protect themselves by purchasing adequate liability and uninsured motorist coverage. I suggest that parents always purchase 100,000/300,000 coverage as a minomum on both liability and uninsured motorist coverages.