High school sports play a big part in the social life of most Texas teenagers. While the kids worry about winning and losing games, their parents worry about the safety of kids driving to and from games.
Fortunately, parents can help their children avoid the most common contributing factors in teenage accidents by staying involved even after their teenager passes their driving test.
Follow the law
Texas has a progressive licensing system that allows drivers under age 18 to have only a single passenger younger than age 21. Additionally, Texas law prohibits drivers between 16 and 19 years old from operating a motor vehicle from midnight until 5:00 am. Given the time most high school football and basketball games end, the law reduces not only the likelihood of a driver distracted by a car full of friends but also the amount of time for partying after a game.
According to research by the New York Times, lack of experience plays the biggest part in teenage motor vehicle accidents. The study shows parents who ride with their children as much as possible and encourage them to drive at night, during inclement weather and in other conditions they will ultimately face on the road have more positive influence than parents who only lecture.
Avoid impaired driving
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving have increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, but fatigued driving, driving after taking medication and driving with too many distractions get less attention. Teenagers should know to avoid getting in a car driven by someone with compromised reflexes, regardless of the cause of the compromise.
Parents must remember that safe driving skills do not magically appear at midnight the day of their child’s 16th birthday. These skills require time and experience to fully develop, but the learning curve goes faster when parents observe their new drivers in action.