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Metro D.C., District of Columbia

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David Tompkins
David Tompkins
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Teens and Driving: Parents Need to Protect Their Kids

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Some of the most tragic cases that I see involve young people. On November 12, 2007 another teenager died in a single car accident. This brings the total teen death rate for suburban Montgomery County to seven in a single week!

We strongly encourage parents to take a leadership role with their children. What our experience has shown, and what all emperical data we have seen supports, is that the single leading contributors to teen deaths are:
1. Alcohol
2. More than one non-family passenger in a vehicle
3. Driving after 9:00 pm (we believe basically after dark)
4. Bad weather
5. Vehicle engines with greater than a 4-cylinder engine.

One or more of these factors are involved in EVERY SINGLE death case we have handled for a dead teenager’s grieving parents.

There is some talk of restricting teen driving privileges. I am not sure that this is the solution, as practically speaking, teens need to drive to work, school activities and so on. However, parents can take an active role in protecting their children. Do not let you child drive other teens in their car. Do not buy you child a car with a large engine. Put and enforce a curfew on you child and enforce it with driving privileges. NEVER LET YOUR CHILD CONSUME ALCOHOL EVER. Restrict drivng during inclement weather, especially after dark.

We feel for all families that lose a child. We hope we never see another grieving parent in our office. We encourage everyone to take these basic steps to help keep their learning drivers safe.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.