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Articles Posted in Junior Operator

Poor driving habits and inexperience are the main factors involved in teen driving accidents. Parents often look forward to the moment when their teenage children can drive themselves to school and sports practices, but this momentous occasion can also result in parental anxiety and fear. Considering that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, parents have a reason to feel anxious. Fortunately, most of these accidents are preventable. This back to school season, teach your teen driver how to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a preventable auto accident.

Teens have a tendency to feel invincible. This “Superman Complex,” coupled with a lack of experience behind the wheel, can be extremely dangerous. Poor driving habits such as speeding, and reckless and distracted driving, are common factors in teen driving accidents. As a parent, the first step in combating these behaviors is to provide a good example. Practice what you preach; don’t text or talk on your cell phone when behind the wheel. If you must take a call, find a safe spot to pull over before doing so. Keep your phone in the glove box or stashed away in your purse while driving. Our children pay attention to our behaviors more than we think. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another driver’s negligence.

Safety Starts with the Vehicle

In addition to setting a good example, it’s important to set your teen driver up for success. This means providing your young one with a safe vehicle to drive. It doesn’t mean you have to spend $30,000 on a trendy, brand new car. Older cars can be just as safe if they are well-maintained. Check tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. Bad tires are more prone to hydroplaning on wet roads and blowing out at high speeds. A young, inexperienced driver is less likely to respond appropriately in either of those situations.

8 Danger Zones

According to the CDC, at least one of the eight scenarios below is a factor in most teen car accidents.

  • Inexperience
  • Driving with teen passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
    Reckless driving
  • Impaired driving

Safety Tips From the Insurance Information Institute

If you have teen drivers in your household, educating them about good driving behaviors can help reduce their chances of becoming a statistic:

  • Before purchasing a car for your teen, do your research. Check to make sure the vehicle has performed well in crash tests and ranks highly for safety.
  • If your area or school offers a driver education or “safe driver” class, enroll your child in the program immediately.
  • Talk to your children frequently about the dangers of impaired driving, distracted and reckless driving, speeding, and other bad driving behaviors. Even if they roll their eyes, they are
  • Teen drivers should avoid having teen passengers for at least six months to a year after they get their license.
  • Always model good driving behaviors for your teen.

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We are in the midst of what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls “the 100 deadliest days of summer,” during which teen driving fatalities rise every year. In fact, according to AAA, “new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash.” Fatal teen accidents are a growing problem, but there are steps we can take to protect our children from becoming a statistic. Read on for more information about how to avoid serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident this summer.

Why Summer?

First, it’s important to understand why teen driving fatalities increase in summer months. There are numerous factors, including:

  • Teens are not in school.
  • Teens are on the road more in summer than during the school year.
  • Teens have significantly less driving experience than their adult counterparts.

So what should parents do?

Be a Role Model for Your Teen Driver

Parents are the number one role model for teen drivers. Spend as much time as possible driving with your children to ensure that they have ample time to get acclimated to different driving conditions and situations. It’s also crucial to model good driving behaviors for your children. That means no speeding or texting while driving, and always wearing your safety belt. And talk to your kids about dangers, especially distracted and aggressive driving. A MA auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed due to a distracted or aggressive driver.

Teen Driving Dangers – Statistics

The following statistics are provided by the AAA Foundation:

  • When teens are driving with one other teen passenger, their risk of a fatal accident increases by 44 percent.
  • When three or more teen passengers are in the car, the risk of a fatal accident quadruples.
  • When an adult passenger age 35 or older is present, the risk of a fatal accident decreases by 62 percent.
  • About 70 percent of teens admit that they they’ve used a cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • More than 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving in the past month.
  • Approximately 80 percent of teens underestimate the dangers of their own distracted driving habits.
  • About 94 percent of teens admit to keeping their cell phones turned on while driving.

A Boston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

How to Prevent Teen Driving Fatalities in Summer, and All the Time

The death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Considering that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people, it’s essential to educate teens on safe driving behaviors. The following tips can help you protect your teen this summer, and all the time.

  • Tell teens to never text or talk on their cell phone while driving. Teach them to put their phone in the glove box while driving, and pull over to a safe location if they need to send a text or make a call.
  • Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s especially risky for inexperienced teen drivers. Teach your kids to always follow the posted speed limit.
  • If possible, new teen drivers should avoid driving at night or in inclement weather until they have more experience. Evening hours and weekends are the worst time for teen accidents, year round.
  • Remind teens that summer is the deadliest month for teen auto accidents. They may roll their eyes at your constant reminders, but they will

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A child’s sixteenth birthday can be both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing for parents. On one hand, mom and dad get a much-needed break from driving to soccer practices. On the other hand, parents become understandably concerned about car accidents, drunk driving, and other dangerous behaviors. And that’s not all; parents are often shocked when they find out how much their auto insurance rates are going to increase. It may seem unfair, but teen accident statistics support high rate increases. Read on for more information about how to keep your kids safe and your insurance costs low.

The average insurance increase when a teen driver is added to a married couple’s policy is a whopping 79 percent. If the teen is a boy, it’s even higher at an average of 92 percent. Although these rate increases seem high, they are actually down from previous years. In 2013, for example, the average rate increase was 85 percent. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Tips to Keep Insurance Costs Down

If it’s time to add your teen driver to your insurance policy, there’s no way to avoid a rate increase. But there are some steps you can take to reduce the damage to your wallet. The following advice may help keep your costs down:

  • Have your teen driver take a driver safety training course. Most insurance carriers provide discounts for young people who have completed these programs. If you’re not sure, call your insurance company beforehand to determine what discounts apply and how to ensure you receive them.
  • Encourage your teen driver to keep his or her grades in good standing. Some policies provide up to a 15 percent discount for students who maintain a B average or better. Similarly, if your child is on the dean’s list or has received comparable honors, this may equate to money in your pocket.
  • The car matters. High performance vehicles, such as sports cars, will typically result in a greater increase than a basic, four-door sedan. Insurance companies like safe, family vehicles (warning: your teen driver will likely disagree with this logic).
  • Shop around. The best insurance company for your family when it was just mom and dad may not be the best insurance company when it’s mom, dad, and a teenage son.
  • Consider your deductible. If your low premiums encouraged you to get a low deductible, it might make sense to increase your deductible with your rate increase. By increasing your comprehensive and / or collision deductibles by even $500, you may see a significant drop in your overall rate.
  • Teach your teen the importance of utilizing safe driving practices at all times. Make sure he or she gets plenty of practice with you in the car, and on back roads, before driving alone or on highways. Model good behavior; put your cellphone in the glove box when you’re driving, obey the speed limit, pay attention to the road, and buckle up. Once your teen driver develops a history of good driving habits, the rates will begin to drop.

The reality is, there’s a very good chance your teen driver will be involved in a fender bender at some point. Accidents happen. But teaching and modeling good driving behaviors can dramatically reduce your child’s chances of being seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle collision. If you’ve been injured in any type of auto accident, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today. Continue reading

According to a study authored by two researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, almost 50% of teen drivers in the 15 to 17 age group that died in motor vehicle crashes from ’08 – ’12 were operating vehicles were six to eleven years old. Close to a third of those that died were riding in small autos. The results from the study, based on the government’s FARS data, were published earlier this month in Injury Prevention.

The study’s leader, IIHS Sr. VP of Research leader Anne McCartt, said that a lot of the teen drivers who are dying are doing so in the “least protective types of vehicles.” Older vehicles tend to lack the best technology when it comes to safety, such as side air bags, electronic stability control. Also, the smaller the vehicle, usually the less protection there is from impact during a collision.

It should be noted that the number one cause of fatalities among U.S. teens is car accidents. These younger drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a traffic crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting a decline in both the number of Massachusetts motor vehicle crash fatalities as well as how many occurred in total in the U.S. According to the figures for 2013, there were 326 traffic deaths in the state last year, which is a decline from the 383 fatalities in 2012. Alcohol was a factor in 118 of the Massachusetts traffic deaths in 2013.

Nationally, the country lost 32,719 people in roadway crashes in 2013. This is also a decrease from the 33,782 traffic deaths from the year previous.

Overall, between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. saw a reduction in deaths and injuries of truck occupants, passenger car occupants, pedestrians, and young drivers, as well as in accidents where alcohol was a factor.

According to statistics, teen motorists are more likely to be in a car crash than motorists who belong to an older age group. In 2012 alone, 39 people ages 16 to 20 died in Massachusetts car crashes-that’s over 11% of all traffic deaths in the state that year. This figure is higher than the national average of 9.6% .

Driver inexperience is the most common cause of young driver traffic accident. Other common causes include speeding, poor seatbelt use, alcohol, and distracted driving.

Just this month an Attleboro teen died in a single auto collision. Christopher Hutcheon 18, was accompanied by other teens in a 2000 Toyota Camry when the vehicle struck a tree in Mansfield. The car, which another teen was driving, split in two. Hutcheon suffered a collapsed long and ruptured spleen. He was placed in a medically induced coma before later passing away.

It can happen in a split second, with no warning. It can happen to anyone, and it could change your life. The new “Don’t Text and Drive” commercial put out by the United States Department of Transportation aims to shock drivers-especially teenagers-into putting their phones down and paying attention to the road. Distracted driving has become an epidemic in recent years as cell phones, tablets, and other devices have come on the market. Teenagers are especially susceptible to the effects of distracted driving because of their inexperience behind the wheel combined with an almost rabid attachment to their cell phones.

The commercial pinpoints the teenage and young adult audience with the slogan, “U drive. U text. U pay,” with the hashtag #justdrive. It features a group of young women traveling in a car on a seemingly normal day. They are seen talking and laughing as the driver becomes distracted by her phone and misses a stop sign. In an instant, they are struck by an oncoming truck in the intersection. The extremely jarring scene unfolds as the car flips over multiple times before coming to rest.

In perhaps the most poignant scene, a police officer stands beside the wreckage and explains, “Nobody likes to be stopped by police, but if I’d seen her texting while driving and given her a ticket, it just might have saved her life.” The shocking images are meant to jolt teens into understanding the reality and consequences of texting while driving at point in their lives when they may feel invincible.
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Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. If you are obeying the speed limit and traveling at 55 miles per hour, that means you covered the distance of a football field. 60% of drivers use cell phones while they drive and 39% of teenagers say that they have been involved in near-crash scenarios because of their own or someone else’s distracted driving. It is well known that texting while driving is dangerous and reckless; however, 78% of teens and young adults reported that they have read a text while driving.
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New data published by state officials this week shows that the number of accidents involving newly-licensed Massachusetts teenagers has dropped by nearly half since 2006.

According to the state Department of Transportation, 16- and 17- year old drivers accounted for 6,400 crashes reported to police in Massachusetts in 2012, compared with 12,673 in 2006. And the number of accidents causing serious injury or death among teens has dropped even more significantly.

file000739321417.jpgOfficials have attributed this dramatic decrease to changes made to the pre-license training requirements as well as boosted penalties for teens that speed or commit other driving infractions. But according to an article published by the Boston Globe, in addition to changes in legislature passed in 2007, the real reason for such a significant drop in accidents is that there are actually fewer teens on the road-not just that teens are driving more carefully.

In fact, there has been a 25% decrease in drivers aged 16 and 17 on Massachusetts roads since 2006; a year prior to when state lawmakers increased both the cost and training hours required to obtain a motor vehicle license. The changes made to the law in September of 2007 require triple the number of hours teens must spend driving under their parents’ supervision (to 40 hours), double the amount of hours required with a certified instructor (to 12 hours), and require parents of new drivers to attend a 2-hour long teen driving seminar. In addition, the cost of the standard course offered by local driving schools has more than doubled from $300 to upwards of $600. Many suspect that the combination of cost and difficulty to get a license has deterred many teens from getting their licenses as soon as they are eligible, in addition to the high gas prices, prices of a new driver’s insurance policy, teenage unemployment, and availability of alternative transportation including mass transit.
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A 17-year-old was cited after she struck and seriously injured a couple and their infant child in the South End on Sunday afternoon.

According to witnesses and investigators, the teenager hit the couple and child as they were crossing the street near Columbus Avenue and Dartmouth Street. The teen’s car also hit a pole and the side of a brownstone at Lawrence and Dartmouth streets. The couple and their child were taken to Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for serious injuries. The child was not seriously injured and was released to family members. The father was admitted for a leg and head injury, and the mother suffered serious head and neck trauma.

4-25-13%20blog2.jpgThe driver was operating with a junior operator’s license, and had been driving with another 17-year-old in the car; a violation of J.O.L passenger restrictions. According to Massachusetts Law, junior operators may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six months of obtaining his or her license with an individual under the age of 18 years, unless accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver’s license from Massachusetts or another state, and is occupying the passenger seat. Violations of this restriction may result in the driver having his or her license suspended for 60-days and paying a $100 license reinstatement fee for the first offense. Subsequent offenses result in a longer suspension period, taking a Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course, as well as a reinstatement fee.

The teenager was most likely cited for the passenger violation, as well as operating to endanger, negligent operation, and reckless driving, which carries a license suspension of 180 days and a reinstatement fee of $500, for the first offense. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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