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Back to school: How to keep teenage drivers safe

Schools across Tarrant and Denton counties will be starting back up next week and thousands of teenagers will begin commuting to and from school. For parents - actually all those who share the road - safety is a growing concern.

How can parents ensure that their teens stay safe while still learning to drive? What options exist to keep them off their mobile devices while in the car? If your teen is injured in an accident, you need to seek the advice of an experienced accident and injury attorney to obtain all available resources to help your child recover.

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This post will cover some possible issues and offer advice for keeping the roadways safe this back-to-school season in Texas.

Texas auto accidents and applicable laws

Last year across the state, approximately 41,000 car crashes caused more than 3,500 deaths. Many of these accidents have well known causes that the law already addresses - for example, speeding and driving while intoxicated.

There is another common cause of traffic accidents that presents a particular danger to teenagers: distracted driving. Inexperience on the road and a greater dependence on social media put young drivers at a higher risk.

Many of these young people cannot disconnect from smartphones and other portable devices. They also lack the maturity to appreciate the risks involved. Sending a text message takes a driver's hands off the steering wheel, eyes away the road and most importantly distracts attention from the job of driving.

Texas is currently one of only four states without a statewide ban on texting while driving. Last year, AAA Texas estimated that 3,000 were badly injured or died because of distracted drivers. Often teens have more people in their vehicles placing more young passengers in harm's way when a driver responds to a text. Seat belt use is often low in this group adding to the risks for injury.

No statewide ban: Parents must educate and police their teen drivers

Parents play an important role in the current atmosphere. Cars.com earlier this year put together a piece on apps that allow parents to monitor teen driving. One aftermarket product sends reports through a smartphone app.

If you don't want to go this far, educating about the risks and modeling good behavior by waiting until your vehicle is stopped to read/answer any text messages are good starting points.

While you have some control over educating and monitoring your teenage driver, you cannot control others. When the negligence of another driver leads to an accident and injury, speak with the attorneys at Harris Cook LLC to find out more about remedies. We will fight to hold any negligent party accountable and obtain justice for your family.

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