Do Parents Have the Power to Prevent Teen DUI Crashes?

New Study Says Parent Involvement May Prevent Drunk Driving Crashes Among Teenagers

Do teenagers really listen to their parents when it comes to safe driving and car crash prevention? According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Yale University, a strong parent-teen relationship that involves mutual respect may actually be able to reduce the likelihood of a drunk driving accident involving a teen driver. A recent news release from Yale University discusses the study.

Teenagers who binge drink in high school are more likely to be involved in a DUI or DWI accident, and they are also more likely to drink and drive later in life. Parents may be able to positively impact this kind of teen behavior to prevent alcohol-impaired crashes. According to the study, Yale researchers “found that what teens believe their parents know about their leisure activities and who their friends are — and whether the parents approve or disapprove of alcohol use — can have life-saving effects.” In short, when teens and their parents have a relationship involving mutual respect and they know that their parents disapprove of alcohol consumption and drunk driving, those teens are less likely to drink and drive.

Moreover, not only are those teens less likely to be involved in a DUI accident in high school, but the effects may last up to four years after a teen graduates from high school, thereby preventing DUI accidents all the way through the teen’s college career.

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers and Parents

It is extremely important for parents and teens to be on the same page when it comes to motor vehicle safety. Given the inexperience of teen drivers, it is essential for parents to set a good model for safe driving and to put rules in place to prevent teen traffic collisions. The following is a list of safety tips for teens and parents alike from Consumer Reports:

  • Wear a seatbelt all the time, recognizing that approximately 60% of teens killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident;
  • Never use a phone—even a hands-free one—while driving, and commit to keeping your phone out of view and out of reach while you are behind the wheel;
  • Travel within the posted speed limit, knowing that nearly 40% of male teen drivers killed in crashes were speeding immediately before the collision;
  • Never drink alcohol and drive;
  • Plan ahead for emergencies on the road, keeping an emergency kit in the car’s trunk that includes jumper cables, a first aid kit, and a flashlight;
  • Avoid or limit nighttime driving if possible, recognizing that almost 20% of fatal teen accidents occur between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., and 24% of fatal teen crashes occur between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.;
  • Be careful in inclement weather, and avoid driving if possible (if your teen must drive in inclement weather, ensure that your teen has been trained in techniques that allow him or her to prepare for skidding or hydroplaning on slick or icy surfaces);
  • Teens should not drive when they have other teen passengers since the risk of a fatal crash increases when more than one teenager is in a vehicle ( the risk of a deadly collision is four times higher when three or more teenagers are in a car together);
  • Buy the right car for a teen driver, ensuring that the vehicle has proper safety features and is sized appropriately for a young driver; and
  • Create a parent-teen driving contract with rules and penalties.

If you or your teen driver were injured in a crash, you should discuss your options with a car accident attorney.

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