Advice for Parents: Teens and Preventing Distracted Driving

February 6, 2013 |  by  |  Cars


Teenage drivers are the most likely to be involved in a fatal car crash due to distractions according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Parents can play a huge role in reducing the risk of teenagers getting into a fatal crash. While it is impossible to be with them at all times, parents play a large role in what kind of driver their teen will become. By following these simple three steps you can help your teen develop a lifetime of good driving habits.

Talk to Your Teen Driver

Open a discussion with your teenager and talk about the seriousness and responsibility of being behind the wheel of a car. Set up clear rules for when your teen gets behind the wheel and discuss all aspects of being a safe driver. Have these conversations frequently, especially when your teen first begins driving alone. Teen drivers should focus all of their energy and attention on driving and keeping their eyes on the road.Be sure to discuss eliminating distractions while driving, including but are not limited to eating and drinking while driving, using a cell phone for talking or texting, interacting with passengers, reading maps or using a navigation system, and adjusting the music.

Constantly reinforcing good driving behavior will help develop the good driving habits that your teen will have with them for the rest of their lives. Every time your teenager plans to get behind the wheel is a good opportunity to remind them  to, avoid common distractions, use a seatbelt and practice safe driving.

Be Knowledgeable of Your State’s Driving Laws

In Virginia drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone to call and it is illegal for drivers of any age to text while driving. Virginia has laws that prohibit drivers under the age of 18 from driving between the hours of midnight and 4 pm. Additionally, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to drive more than one non family member the first year they have their license. Most states have different laws about driving, curfew, number of passengers, and cell phone use.

Sign A Contract Against Distracted Driving

Agreeing upon and setting rules for your teen driver is very important. A contract between you and your teenager  is a great way to set forth clearly defined rules for safe driving. These rules can help prevent car accidents. Monitor your teenager and make sure they are abiding by the contract. Reward safe driving and enforce restrictions for unsafe driving. Staying involved with your teenagers driving can help them form good driving habits.

A great resource for additional tips on how to talk to your child about safe driving habits is:

About the Author: Paul Christopher Guedri has over 30 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer in Virginia. He is a partner with the law firm of Allen & Allen and has handled hundreds of complex injury and death cases in Virginia and the U.S. involving car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, bus accidents and defective products. Chris Guedri has been listed in the book Best Lawyers in America since 1997 and is AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell. He was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and has been included among “Legal Elite Best Lawyers in Virginia” by Virginia Business Magazine.