Teen Drivers Pose High Risks to MoreThan Just The Other Drivers on the Road

When a teenager hits that magical age that allows driving a motor vehicle under the law for the first time, there is little doubt that the teen will be excited and anxious to hit the road.  When Missouri moms and dads consider the potential financial liability their teen’s driving puts them under, they may reconsider handing over the keys.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.

Whether it is a lack of driving experience or the absence of judgment that comes with immaturity, teen drivers have more accidents than any other age group.  For example, rear-end collisions are the most common car wrecks caused by teen drivers.  If a parent allows a child to drive knowing that the teenage driver makes bad choices that endangers others, then the parent may be liable for negligently entrusting a teen driver whom they know to be a dangerous driver with the ability to drive.

If you have been the victim of a dangerous teen driver, be sure to download your free copy of the book Don’t Wreck Your Injury Claim for helpful information about your rights.

A Driver’s License?  Only With YOUR Permission

In the state of Missouri like many states, new driver’s license laws put parents in the driver’s seat for their teen’s driving privileges.  When a teenager is given a driving permit or a driver’s license, the parent takes an active role in preparing the teen for readiness on the road.  A parent must sign for permission for the young driver to receive a permit or a license.  A parent can also revoke that privilege by filling out a form from the Department of Motor Vehicles and filing it with the state.  The form is used again when you as a parent decide to reinstate the teen’s driving privileges. 

Teens and Driving, a Reality Check

When a teen gets behind the wheel, the risks of safety to him or her and the people with whom they share the road goes way up.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) teenage drivers are involved in three times as many fatal accidents as other drivers.  In fact, one in five sixteen-year-old drivers will be in an accident in their first year of driving. 

Teenagers face many risks when they drive.  Inexperience behind the wheel accounts for some of the risk, but teens are also likely to misjudge their abilities behind the wheel and despite national education campaigns aimed at preventing texting and driving, teenagers are more likely to be distracted drivers than any other age group.  A statistic published in Forbes Magazine put the teenage death toll in perspective; one teen driver is killed every 11 seconds in this country as a result of texting and driving.

Parents and Financial Responsibility

Parental consent for teenage drivers is also parental financial responsibility.  If your teen is involved in an accident, you are could be liable for the expenses not covered by your insurance policy.  As a parent, you take a risk each time your child gets behind the wheel.  Considering the high risks associated with teenage drivers and the potential hit to your wallet, setting clear ground rules from the very beginning is a necessary part of the teen driving equation.  Lay out simple rules from the beginning, and include the consequences so that there is no doubt what will to his or her driving privileges if your teen fails to live up to the guidelines you set.  Consider a teen driving contract that spells out rules and consequences for your teen to maintain his or her driving privileges. 

Most teen drivers will have at least one accident before they leave the teen years behind them.  If your teen has been involved in an accident and you have questions about your rights, contact a Missouri car accident lawyer for clear answers.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.