Is Your Teen Driver Ready for a Safe School Year?
August 30, 2023
Students across Pennsylvania are getting ready to go back to school, including teen drivers. Many high school students are excited to be driving themselves to school for the first time. A new school year brings many changes and challenges, but ensuring student drivers are safe on the road should be a priority. If you are the parent of a student driver, now is a good time to review some road rules with your teen.
Parents of teen drivers should enforce the following safety rules:
- Slow down: Thirty percent of fatal car accidents involve speeding, so teens should know to obey posted speed limits and reduce speed as needed to maintain control of their car.
- Keep your distance: Tailgating is a common habit of impatient teen drivers, leading to many car accidents and injuries yearly.
- No cell phones: Parents should enforce a zero-tolerance policy for texting or talking on the phone while driving.
- Limit passengers: Teens are three times more likely to drive dangerously with more than one passenger in the car, especially when the passengers are other teens.
- Practice: Lack of real-world experience is young drivers’ most significant issue, so encourage your teen to practice under your supervision as often as possible.
What Are Pennsylvania’s School Bus Laws?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, all drivers must take appropriate steps to keep children safe. Both adult and teen drivers should review school bus laws in preparation for a safe school year:
- You must stop when you see a stopped school bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended.
- You must stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus.
- Wait until the red lights stop flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn before moving.
- Do not continue driving until all the children have reached a place of safety.
What Are Driving Restrictions for Teens?
Pennsylvania is more lenient on drivers with a junior or provisional license. However, the state has rules about teen drivers staying off the roads late at night. Teen drivers with a learner’s permit or junior license cannot be on the streets between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. There are a few exemptions, however, including employment, volunteer activity, and charitable service.
If a driver under 18 is on the road for one of these exemptions, they must have the appropriate documentation. Teen drivers should also travel the shortest route to and from their place of activity without making unnecessary stops.
Why Is Nighttime Driving Dangerous for Teens?
Many states have implemented nighttime driving restrictions for teen drivers due to the increased risk of late-night crashes. About 40 percent of teen driver fatalities occur between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies show that teen drivers’ fatal crash rate at night is about three times as high as adult drivers per mile driven. The incidence rate of drunk driving and drowsy driving accidents increases for teen drivers at night.
Why Are Teen Drivers at Higher Risk for a Crash?
According to the CDC, the risk of being involved in a car crash among teens aged 16 to 19 is higher than in any other age group. Lack of real-world driving experience is the top reason for this increased risk of traffic collisions for teens. Immaturity and the distraction of other teen passengers also contribute to teen driving accidents.
Some other factors that put teen drivers at added risk for car accidents include:
- Failure to wear seat belts: On average, over half of teens killed in car crashes each year were not wearing seat belts.
- Speeding: Speeding is a top cause of serious car accidents.
- Distracted driving: Cell phone use has increased the prevalence of dangerous distracted driving across the country, particularly with teen drivers.
- Alcohol use: Drinking and driving is highly hazardous for any driver, especially inexperienced teens.
What Should I Do If My Teen Driver Was in an Accident?
You must get your teen immediate medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident. Even if there are no apparent injuries, it is essential to have your teen evaluated for safety as well as documentation purposes. Ensure you maintain copies of all medical records related to your teen’s accident.
The next step is to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure a smooth and efficient legal process. Your lawyer can review the details of your case and discuss the best legal avenues.
A car accident lawyer can also assist in the following ways:
- Identify at-fault drivers.
- Investigate potential third-party claims.
- Gather evidence from the accident scene.
- Interview eyewitnesses.
- Review available insurance coverage.
- Organize medical records.
- Consult with medical experts.
- Calculate compensatory damages.
- Negotiate with insurance companies.
- Take the case to trial if appropriate.
Galfand Berger LLP Can Help You After an Accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, Galfand Berger LLP can help. Some of our past cases:
- $4,500,000 settlement for spinal injury: Our client was paralyzed after a head-on collision. We pursued claims against the other driver and the auto manufacturer for the vehicle’s defective seat beat and crashworthiness. We recovered $4,500,000 for our client.
- $3,000,000 settlement in tractor-trailer accident: Our client was driving on an interstate highway when a tractor-trailer hit him. He suffered severe injuries resulting in the amputation of his legs below the knee. Our team’s investigation revealed that the trailer’s brakes were worn out, and the tires were bald. There was also evidence that the truck driver’s log was inaccurate and indicated that he was driving excessive hours. We settled the case for our client for $3,000,000.
- $1,000,000 verdict for automobile accident: Our client suffered severe injuries in a car crash, including a fractured pelvis and leg. When the insurance company defending the case attempted to get our client to accept a low settlement, we advised the client to decline the offer and took the case to trial. The jury returned a $1,000,000 verdict in favor of our client.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Can Protect the Rights and Best Interests of Your Teen Driver After a Crash
Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are elite in their field when it comes to advocating for injured victims. If your teen driver was injured in a car accident, call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we also serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.