Just looking at the yearly statistics for auto accidents here in the United States, it’s clear that safety laws don’t go far enough. Last year, for example, more than 6,000 people were killed and 500,000 were injured by accidents related to distracted driving. The “epidemic,” as Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood calls it, is now the number one killer of teenagers nationwide, but barely half of the states have restrictions on cell phone use while driving. And while new states continue to jump on the anti-distracted driving band wagon each day, nationwide legislation banning the practice has stalled in Congress.
For this reason, it’s up to individual families to ensure that their sons, daughters, and siblings are driving more safely than is required by law. That means pledging to curb cell phone use behind the wheel, limiting the number of passengers in your car, and being conscious of when and where you drive. GJEL Accident Attorneys suggests that parents draw up a Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract with their teenagers before the summer starts. “As summer vacation begins, we traditionally see an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities among young people,” says GJEL Managing Partner Andy Gillin. “In our effort to keep families and other motorists safe, our firm has created this free discussion guide to elevate attention on teen driver safety among parents and young adults.”
The contract is available in two forms, PDF and Microsoft Word so that families can alter the guidelines to fit their values and house rules. “We suggest parents establish a reward if the contract is fulfilled and a consequence when teens break their pledge to be a safe motorist,” said Gillin. The goal of this contract is to help raise awareness about the legal driving practices that are allowed by law. Fortunately families can supplement the slow progress of Congress, which has not yet caught up to technology when it comes to road safety laws.
Visit the GJEL News and Resources Center to download the contract in addition to other important documents like a Car Accident Preparedness Checklist to keep in your glove box. Good luck, and contact us with stories about your experiences with the contract.