November 17th kicks off National Teens Don’t Text and Drive Week, and the Houston car accident attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris want to take the time to share some important teen driving safety information.

It is a sad fact that distracted driving is the leading cause of death among U.S. teens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, 11 percent of drivers 19 years old and younger who were involved in fatal accidents were distracted at the time of the crash.

The good news is that these types of crashes are almost entirely preventable through arming yourself and your teen driver with information.

Teen Driving: The Facts

Our Houston car accident attorneys often see tragic situations arise from unsafe driving practices. Here are some facts about teen driving:

  • The first 12 months after getting an independent driver’s license is the most dangerous for teen drivers.
  • The risk of getting into an accident is three times higher for teens than for older, experienced drivers.
  • Texting while driving increases a teen’s accident risk 23 times.

These facts may be frightening, but the good news is there are ways to keep your teen drivers safe. Here’s what our Houston car accident attorneys recommend:

1. Practice, practice, practice: There is no better way to gain experience for a teen driver than through practice with a parent. Even after being licensed independently, your teen will still need time to learn the ways of the road and to practice their driving skills. Sit next to them while they drive, observe and offer constructive advice.

2. Be an example: Teens grow up watching their parents drive. It’s how they learn, and what you show them will set an example — good or bad — for the driving behavior they model. Parents should avoid texting and talking on a cell phone while driving. Make sure to drive the way you want your teen to drive and set a good example for them to take after.

3. Make it a privilege: Before teens earn new privileges, such as independent driving, make sure they can demonstrate responsibility with the ones they already have.

4. Make a contract: In the business world, agreements are made with documentation and signatures from all parties. This helps to ensure both parties adhere to the agreement. Draw up a teen driving contract that sets clear expectations, particularly with regard to texting or cell phone use while driving. Parents and teen drivers should both sign it.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Houston car accident attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers can help. Call (713) 364-0723 today for a free consultation.