A recent New York Times article pointed out that more and more states are putting tough new limits on teenage drivers. The states are trying to cut down of the opportunities for teenagers to pile a bunch of their friends in a car and go for a ride that could end tragically.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Two-thirds of those deaths are in a car driven by another teenager, the Times reports.
Pennsylvania and New York State have been among the states setting tough limits on teen drivers, limiting teenage passengers and setting strict curfews for the young drivers. In Pennsylvania, there is a limit of one teenage passenger per teen driver and the state has the toughest requirement for practice driving in the nation, 65 hours, according to the Times. In New York, teenagers have to have 50 hours of supervised driving before they can take their road test, and 16-year-olds must wait a minimum of six months after they get their permit to take the road test. They can only have one non-family member under 21 as a passenger.
As the father of three kids (two in their twenties and a 17-year-old) and a lawyer who has handled countless car crash lawsuits, I am nervous every time one of my kids drives down the driveway. I know all too well the dangers of teen driving. To my kids, I have always preached safe driving and insisted on safe cars with airbags and good tires.
One important thing I have learned from accident reconstruction experts in my cases is that one of the greatest factors influencing fatal teen crashes is the number of kids in the car. More kids in the car GREATLY enhances the likelihood of a fatal car crash. This makes sense — teens are pack animals and pack mentality encourages idiotic, risk-taking behavior. We all know the power of peer pressure, and peer pressure in a car is a recipe for disaster.
So, as a Dad and as a lawyer representing car crash victims, I am 100 percent in support of laws that limit the number of passengers accompanying teen drivers.
I hope all parents of teenagers in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers are preaching safety to their young drivers! Parents, what are you doing to make your young driver safer? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.