“Back to School Safety” Series Provides Tips to Help Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Fort Myers, Boca Raton, Elsewhere

Students will be headed back to school in the next few weeks, so parents should talk to their kids about school safety in order to keep them safe throughout the school year. The National Safety Council and First Student have teamed up to provide safety tips for motorists, parents, teens and children that we will break into a three part “Back to School Safety” series.

Topics in the series will include motorist/teen driving safety, traveling to school by foot, bicycle, or bus safety, and tips to remember on the playground. The first topic in our series is teen driving and tips for motorists as students head back to school.

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys know it may take some getting used to after a long summer of no children parading the streets in your neighborhood but be prepared to start seeing buses, pedestrians and bicyclists in the weeks ahead. Teen drivers can help avoid a car accident in Naples, Boca Raton or elsewhere if they keep their focus on the road rather than what is going on inside their car.

Driver distraction, speeding, driving intoxicated and driver inexperience all attribute to car crashes being the number one cause of death for teens. Strong Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs have been effective in lowering teen driving crashes and fatalities by as much as 40 percent.

Parents can also play an effective role in their teen’s safety by setting a good example and getting involved in their teen’s early driving experiences.

Create your own GDL program within your home by:

  • Setting a cut-off time for your teen to drive at night at 10 p.m. Statistics show that the hours before midnight is the most dangerous time of the day for fatal teen crashes.
  • Enforce a zero-tolerance policy in your household by never allowing your teen to drive under the influence. Alcohol is a factor in almost a third of teen crashes involving a driver between the ages of 15-20. –
  • Ban your teen from using their cell phone while driving. Teens are avid texters, which is why this age group is most at risk for driver inattention accidents.
  • If you feel your teen is not ready to drive on their own, extend the practice period before they go get their full license. In this case, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Studies have shown that one passenger in the vehicle increases the risk of a teen car crash by 48 percent. Restrict your teen to no passengers during the first 12 months of receiving their full license.All motorists are urged to keep a watchful eye for school buses, child pedestrians and young bicyclists once the school year starts.

Child pedestrians ages 4 to 7 years-old are most at risk of being involved in a bus-related crash due to a vehicle passing illegally or a bus being in motion. Motorists should be alert for children around school buses, keep more than 10 feet away from a stopped school bus, and never pass a stationary bus with flashing yellow or red lights.

Child pedestrians and bicyclists are the most unpredictable and hardest to see. Motorists should always keep a watchful eye for pedestrians and bicyclists at crosswalks, in school zones, near playgrounds and residential neighborhoods.

Reduce speed, make eye contact, and never allow distractions to take attention away from the road in areas where you can expect young children to be commuting to school.Motorists who use extra caution throughout the school year can help keep roadways safer. Help save a life this school year by practicing safe behavior every time you get behind the wheel.