In the state of Missouri, teen drivers are on a graduated driver's license program.  Teenagers are required to have 40 hours of instruction provided by a parent or a guardian while they drive on a driver's permit.  When teens go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to get their first driver's license after they turn 16, a parent is merely required to sign a document stating that their teen received the required hours of driving instruction.

But the question remains, is it enough? Over the years cuts in public education have taken driver's education courses out of public school systems.  Private individuals offer driving instruction, but the cost may be too much for many families to handle in today's economic reality.  This makes parents responsible for their teen's driving education.    And since motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 years old, it is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Parents must watch their teenagers carefully for signs of maturity.  Are they really ready to be responsible for a vehicle out on the open road?  Parents and teens should remember that driving is not a right, but rather a privilege that must be earned and kept through responsible and safe choices and practices.  Can your teen listen to correction without becoming defensive?  Driving a motor vehicle irresponsibly is like aiming a loaded weapon into a crown.  Teenagers share the road with families, children, grandparents and individuals, all of whom have the right to expect the other drivers on the road to be reasonably safe behind the wheel.  Is the teen going to act responsibly even with other kids in the car?  This is a legitimate concern.  According to the Missouri Department of Transportation's website, 59 percent of teen motor vehicle crash deaths occur when another teen is driving.  Parents should insist on the following: 1.       seat belts will be worn by all passengers at all times. 2.      Absolutely no texting while driving.  Not ever. 3.      No talking on the phone while behind the wheel of the car. 4.      Never, ever drive while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Call a parent first, questions can be asked later. 5.      All state driving laws and speed limits must be followed at all times. 6.      Teenage drivers must receive parental approval before anyone else rides in the car with them.  Likewise, require teens to check with parents before riding with another teenage driver. 7.      No eating or drinking while driving; this can be distracting. 8.      No driving without enough sleep. Parents that act as driving instructors should try to remain calm when training their young drivers, but they should insist of strict observance of traffic laws.  One of the best ways to ensure that a teen will turn into a safe driver is to demonstrate safe driving practices yourself.  Set a good example. Make those 40 hours of required driving instruction count.  Do not be afraid to enforce strict consequences for teenage drivers who do not practice safe driving.  Your teen's life and the lives of other motorists on Missouri highways depends upon it. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by an unsafe teen driver, contact a Missouri personal injury lawyer for help in understanding your rights.  Contact Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at 888-348-2616 to schedule a free initial consultation.  You can access more helpful information by downloading a free copy of the resource guide 10 Essential Steps You Must Take to Protect Your Injury Claim.   

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