While many families all throughout Louisiana were enjoying the festivities of this past holiday season, one community was having to suffer through a horrible loss. Just a few days prior to Christmas, 15-year old Kristyn Hoffpauir of Winn Parish and her mother, Kandance B. Hoffpauir, were involved in a single-vehicle fatal accident.
The teenage driver and her mother were traveling northbound on US Highway 71 when the younger Hoffpauir lost control of the vehicle, exited the roadway, then collided with a road sign and concrete retaining wall located on a creek bank. The young girl was pronounced dead at the scene while her mother was seriously injured and transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center.
We here at the Cardone Law Firm would like to not only offer our condolences to those affected by this tragedy but also take the time to discuss the importance of driver safety – especially when it comes to teen drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens; in 2015 alone, 2,333 teens ages 16-19 were victims of a fatal accident. That equates to six young men and women dying every day from a motor vehicle injury.
While these numbers can be startling, it is important to recognize as parents and caretakers of teenaged children that car accidents are preventable. We believe it is our responsibility at Cardone Law Firm to offer families and parents a few proven strategies that can improve the safety of young drivers on the road.
6 Safety Tip Teens Should Follow When Driving
Accidents occur but it’s vital that teens understand the amount of responsibility that goes into driving. With 56% of teens admitting they talk on their cellphones while driving and another 13% admitting to texting while behind the wheel, you will really want to stress the importance of safety.
The following tips should be followed every time your teen driver gets behind the wheel:
- Always Use Safety Belts (Passengers Included)
Seat belts truly save lives and should be worn by all passengers, at all times. Not only is it the law but should an accident occur, seat belts will prevent the driver from being thrown from the vehicle or hitting the windshield, steering wheel, door, etc.
This is the easiest rule to follow but also the most important.
- Turn Off Cell Phone
Louisiana has laws in place prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving for new drivers. The reality is that we as parents must help to enforce this rule. This is especially true with younger generations and the increase of cell phone ownership. Studies have shown that using an electronic device while driving is equivalent to drunk driving.
Ensuring that you’re teens are turning off their cell phones while driving also goes a long way in preventing them from texting while driving. During the average amount of time that it takes to read a text (4.6 seconds), drivers can travel the length of a football field. Traveling such a large distance without your eyes on the road can easily lead to tragedy.
- Always Obeying the Speed Limit
One of the biggest contributors to fatal teen accidents is speed. Teenagers can be easily tempted to “show off” or take unnecessary risks such as traveling at high speeds through high traffic areas (including high foot traffic).
- Read more about auto accidents in Louisiana.
Speak to your teen about the importance of traveling at safe speeds not only for their own personal safety but for the sake of other drivers and pedestrians on the road as well.
- Limit the Number of Passengers
While your teen is still developing as a responsible driver, you should set a limit on the number of passengers permitted in the vehicle while they are behind the wheel. Traveling with a group of friends can quickly lead to distractions and inappropriate driving behaviors.
Ideally, they will travel alone during their “Learner” and “Intermediate” stages.
- Be Extra Careful in School Zones and Near Buses
Your teen may be using a car to get to school and so they will be driving through high traffic school zones. Teach them the importance of following all traffic rules in these special areas, especially when it comes to pedestrians.
The same level of precaution should be taken when they are traveling behind buses or when driving near bus stops. As children often tend to walk in front of a bus when dropped off, drivers cannot see the children until they are on this road, which has led to many fatal incidents. Remind them to always pay heed to flashing lights at schools zones, bus stops, and to any warnings issued by the bus itself.
- Minimize All Distractions
While cell phones are often the biggest forms of distraction, there are plenty of other behaviors that can cause your teen driver to not notice danger. While driving, teenage drivers should avoid:
- Searching for an item that has fallen to the floor
- Changing radio stations
- Using phone for GPS or music
- Playing music unnecessarily loud
- Horseplaying with passengers
These sorts of distracted actions can quickly cause a car accident.
Contact the Louisiana Car Accident Lawyers of Cardone Law Firm Today
Even if your teenager follows every rule and exhibits exceptional driving safety behavior, that doesn’t mean everyone else on the road will. We understand how scary a car crash can be for anyone, and especially for a child.
Our personal injury attorneys in New Orleans have over 40 years of experience handling auto accident cases and are adequately trained to help get your teen driver the recovery they deserve following a serious accident.