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Talking To Your Teen About Safe Driving in Chicago

driver puts on seat belt

In a recent Allstate Foundation survey, almost half of parents expressed regret that they had not more carefully monitored their teenagers’ driving behaviors once the teens received a license. Two-thirds of the parents also expressed a wish that they had spent more time teaching their kids how to cope with high-risk driving situations.

Parents who work with their kids on safe driving and who model good driving behavior can have a major impact on whether their children are safe drivers. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our lawyers believe this starts with talking to your child and setting clear rules and guidelines for safe driving.

Resources for Parents of Teen Drivers

Unfortunately, many parents don’t know where to start when it comes to discussing safe driving with their teens. As the Allstate survey indicated, 64 percent of parents are actively looking for resources to help manage their teens’ driving experience.

Fortunately, there are actually many resources out there for parents who want to help their teens be safer, including:

  • End Distracted Driving – This organization provides information to help parents talk about one of the major causes of teen accidents – distracted driving. In fact, a partner with our firm, Patrick A. Salvi II, currently is working with this organization to speak with teens throughout Chicago and surrounding areas in Illinois about the dangers of distracted driving. The website includes EndDD’s checklist of “Simple Steps” one can take to avoid being a distracted driver.
  • The Parent Action Plan from Allstate Insurance – Allstate has resources to help you start the conversation as well as information that you can use when talking to your teen. There is even a song written by Jason Wade of the band Lifehouse that can help parents to teach the safe driving message.
  • The Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a contract on their website that parents can print out and have their teenagers sign. The contract contains some key provisions that a teen must agree to, including rules designed to prevent distracted driving.
  • Road Trips from State Farm – This is a Web-based program that parents can use to teach essential safe driving skills to teenage drivers. Road Trips includes lessons and tutorials, printable tip sheets and a log to track your teen’s progress.

These are just some of the many resources available to parents who want to prevent tragic teen car accidents.

Items to Discuss with Your Teen Driver

Regardless of what resources you choose to use, there are some key issues that you need to be sure to discuss with your young driver. Major topics include:

  • The dangers of distracted driving – Using any kind of hand-held device can create a four times greater risk of a car wreck, while texting can make you 23 times as likely to become involved in a crash. Despite these dangers, 40 percent of teens said in a Pew poll that they’d been in a car with a driver using a cell phone in a dangerous way. Emphasize the dangers of cell phones as well as other types of distraction to your teen, including eating or changing music.
  • The dangers of drunk driving – There are zero-tolerance laws in Illinois for teen drivers. Let your teen know that he could lose his license for having even one drink and driving. Emphasize that the loss of a license is not even the worst consequence, since drunk driving could also cause your teen to lose his life.
  • The dangers of drowsy driving – Teens are more likely than those in other age groups to start dozing off behind the wheel and less likely to stop and rest. Tell your teen that driving fatigued can be every bit as dangerous as driving drunk.
  • The dangers of speeding – When going too fast, a teen has a much greater chance of a crash, and the crash is much more likely to be serious or deadly. Tell your teen to slow down and stay within the speed limit at all times.
  • The risks of having too many friends in the car – The more teens in a car at a time, the greater the chance of an accident.  You may wish to limit the number of passengers in the car.
  • The dangers of night driving – Visibility is reduced, and accidents are more likely to happen at night. This is why graduated licensing programs often limit the ability of teenagers to drive at night without an adult in the car.

By discussing these issues with your teen and emphasizing the importance of making smart and safe choices, you can help to protect your child and others on the road.

What if You Are Involved in a Teen Accident?

Sometimes, teens will become involved in an accident no matter how much their parents discuss the importance of safe driving. If you or a loved one was a passenger in the car with a teenage driver who caused a crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Any victim of a teen car wreck may also seek compensation for injuries that include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

A Chicago car accident lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help you to take action after a teen car accident in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. To learn more, contact us today online or by calling our toll-free number to schedule a free consultation.


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