A recent article from KTVA Alaska talks about how DUI is still a problem among teen drivers; on a positive note, however, there's been a decline not only in the rate of drinking and driving, but also in the willingness of teen passengers to get into a car with a driver who's been drinking. Part of this decline can be attributed to public campaigns and educational programs, not only for teens but also for their parents.
According to the CDC, vehicular accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. These accidents can lead not only to death, but to serious injuries, suffering, enormous medical bills, and lifelong problems for the teen drivers, their passengers, and anyone else on the road. Curbing the reckless or negligent behavior of teen drivers, who are more inexperienced at driving (and also, in the manner of teenagers, tend to be more impulsive) will improve road safety for everyone.
In addition to educational campaigns, it's also important for parents to get involved with their child's driving from the very start, discussing the risks of the road with them and also very firmly setting rules for what they can and cannot do. What you should discuss with teens includes the following:
Driving while intoxicated. This could involve alcohol or another drug.
Texting or cellphone use while driving. Even hands-free devices are incredibly distracting, so don't assume that drivers will automatically be safer if they have both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road rather than on their mobile device; their attention still won't be focused fully on what's going on around them, leading them to miss spotting things and reacting more slowly to unexpected developments.
Packing too many passengers in the car, especially if they're young. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, novice teen drivers increase their risk of a fatal car crash with every passenger under the age of 21 who joins them in the car.
Going along with irresponsible behavior. In addition to preventing friends from driving drunk, teens need to speak up on other occasions when the driver of their vehicle is doing something irresponsible; and if they feel uncomfortable with a particular driver, they shouldn't be ashamed to get out of the car as soon as they're safely able to.
When an accident has already occurred, and you need to deal with insurance companies or with the negligent parties who are responsible for the crash, it's important to contact an Alaska car accident attorney for advice and support. Ideally though, more accidents will be prevented, starting with the ones involving teens, our youngest and most vulnerable drivers.