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Parents: Teach Your Teens the Importance of Safe Driving

Far too many teenagers are killed in motor vehicle accidents. There are steps that Mississippi parents can take to help prevent their children from being one of those statistics, and parents should be focused on helping their teens drive safely throughout the year.

In 2015, traffic fatalities around the country increased by the highest percentage over the previous year in half a century. According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, teen traffic fatalities increased by 10 percent, which was higher than for any other age group. Initial estimates for 2016 indicate that the trend towards increased fatalities is continuing. Teens die at a rate that is three times greater than people of other age groups in traffic accidents.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data reveals that fatalities across all age groups increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 as compared to 2014. The largest category of increase was fatal accidents caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving deaths increased by 8.8 percent while deaths attributable to failing to wear seat belts increased by 4.9 percent. Impaired driving caused an increase of fatalities of 3.2 percent and speeding was the cause of 3 percent of the increase. Parents should make certain that they talk to their teens and model good driving behavior. This means that parents should not use their smartphones while they drive, should use their seat belts, should obey traffic laws and should never drive impaired.

Teens should be taught that texting and driving can be deadly. When a person is injured in an accident caused by a teen driver who is distracted, the injured victim might want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Under some circumstances, the parents of the driver could be held financially responsible, and an attorney can determine if either the family car doctrine or the theory of negligent entrustment is applicable in a particular situation.