When you’re a parent, your number one concern is always the safety of your child. You take your child’s jacket off to put them in the car seat so the straps will fit, you double-check the temperature of their food so they don’t get burned, and so on. But as your child grows up, they will need less and less protection. In fact, they will likely demand more and more independence. When that fateful day comes for your child to get behind the wheel, you will likely be feeling, or remember feeling, excited, nostalgic, and, undoubtedly, a little nervous.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked Oklahoma as the 11th most dangerous state for teen drivers in recent years. As experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyers, this came as no surprise. From texting and driving to driving under the influence, we’ve seen it all. And as parents of young drivers, we encourage you to inform your child of the risks they face when hitting the road.
Continue reading to learn about the factors that contributed to Oklahoma claiming the title of the 11th most dangerous state for teen drivers.
The NHTSA reported 1,830 fatalities among young Oklahoma drivers in 2017. In fact, 14.4 percent of all traffic fatalities in Oklahoma involve young drivers. These numbers are worrisome when considering how easy it is to avoid such accidents.
Oklahoma’s hands-free law prevents the use of any cell phone use while driving. However, how many teens are actually abiding by this law? Have you ever seen your teenager without their phone? Additionally, the penalty for breaking this law isn’t exactly the most intimidating. If caught, they would incur a small fine with a maximum of $100 with no points added to their driving record.
Cell phone use while driving is extremely dangerous accounting for over 1 million fatalities in the last 25 years. But is the threat of a $100 fine enough to get teenagers to stop?
From 2003 to 2012, over 2 thousand people were killed in drunk driving accidents in Oklahoma. According to Teen Driver Source, 20 percent of high school students nationwide report riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. It’s important to talk to your kids about the dangers of driving under the influence to prevent these accidents.
When teens ride or caravan together, they are distracted and often drive recklessly. From blasting music and racing to needlessly honking at other drivers, this behavior is incredibly dangerous for the teens and any others sharing the road with them.
A teenager can take the state driving permit test at the age of 15 and a half in Oklahoma. From there it’s a short six months of practice until they can get behind the wheel of a car alone. Six months is not long for an adolescent to learn the ins and outs of driving. Teenagers simply lack the experience necessary to be excellent drivers on the road.
Oklahoma may not have claimed the top spot for the worst driving in the nation for teenagers, but young drivers are still at great risk at number 11 on the list. The best way you can ensure your child is safe behind the wheel is to lead by example, such as by always wearing a seatbelt, keeping your music at a reasonable volume, putting your phone away, and following the speed limit.
In the event your child is in an accident that wasn’t their fault, count on Colbert Cooper Hill to take care of you and your family. Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers have been helping injured victims of auto accidents fight for compensation for their medical expenses and other losses for years. We may be able to help you too. Call us at (877) 579-6800 today for a free consultation or fill out our online case evaluation form.