Some legislators have opposed the moves found in several different states to require teens’ parents to take classes before they can allow their children to get a driver’s license. But safety experts come out on the other side. For most states, taking driver’s education is a rite of passage for teenagers but some states are now expanding that to require parents to take a class as well. Will requiring parents to take a class reduce car accidents? It’s too early to tell, but many state legislatures seem determined to take a crack at reducing the deadliest vehicle crashes that claim lives every single year.
Rhode Island recently became the third state to enact such a law that requires legal guardians or parents to understand the restrictions and rules faced by children when they get behind the wheel. Massachusetts and Connecticut already have these requirements and northern Virginia mandates this as well. The practice of asking parents to take a class, however, could just be the beginning. Car safety has taken a big step forward, but due to lack of experience and several other factors, teens still face extremely high accident risks.
According to a consultant with the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, with parents being some of the most influential people in a teen’s life, it can be essential for explaining the risk. Younger drivers have less experience and also have higher crash rates than more experienced drivers in older age categories.
In fact, the fatal vehicle crash rate for 16 and 17-year-olds is approximately 3 times the rate for drivers aged 20 and older. While teen driver involved crashes have decreased over the last several years, they recently have spiked. Asking parents to take a class could raise some awareness, but the teen drivers ultimately have the responsibility to ensure that they operate a car safely every time they get behind the wheel. Working together, parents and teens might help minimize the numbers of life-changing accidents.
If you or someone you know has already been involved in a vehicle accident as a result of a teen driver, you need to consult with a lawyer.