One of the many joys of parenthood is experiencing each milestone children will accomplish throughout their lives. From their first steps and dance recitals, scoring their first goal of getting their driver’s license, and off on their first day of college. Like most parents, many look forward to the day their children pass their driving test. They’ll be able to help out the family by running a few errands, like picking up their younger siblings and grocery shopping.  However, when reality sets in, parents find themselves more full of concern rather than relief and with fair reason. They expect their young driver to fully adhere to the rules and responsibilities that comes with road driving.

Young Driver Statistics

Although young drivers follow the same rules as other experienced drivers, they are more likely to experience unique challenges due to their inexperience with handling a vehicle – like in different weather conditions or high traffic situations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that drivers up to 20 years are at 3 times the risk of having a fatal car accident than any other age group. With that in mind, we can take steps to help prepare your son or daughter to be responsible new drivers as we head back to school.  

Before You Lend Your Car

In Ontario, it is common practice for vehicle owners to lend their car to someone else. But what most people don’t know, it is the vehicle owner’s legal duty to ensure that they only give their consent to a licensed driver that has proven themselves to be responsible. What this means is, if you know someone has a history of alcohol abuse or reckless driving habits you can deny them the privilege of driving your vehicle. If an accident were to occur, which involved your vehicle being borrowed by a reckless or worse, drunk driver, depending on the circumstances you may be liable based on a legality know as “negligent entrustment.”

Consider Driving Conditions

Young drivers are inexperienced with knowing how to handle a vehicle during different weather conditions. Keep in mind that handling methods will vary depending on the vehicle.

Young and newly licensed drivers do not have a considerable driving history and may take an adequate amount of time getting used to the flow of just one vehicle. If the weather calls for heavy rain, snow, hail or icy conditions it’s best to assist the young driver by accompanying them on the drive.

Speed and Safety

There’s no easy way to put this: speeding kills. Higher driving speeds lengthen the time it takes to reduce speed and come to a full stop, which also decreases the driver’s ability to react. What can worsen any accident is passengers not wearing a safety belt. If an accident occurs as a result of speeding and you are not wearing a seatbelt, you put yourself at risk for serious injury, which may result in death. Speeding and not following safety regulations puts your life and rights to compensation in jeopardy.

Remind your teen to always take driving seriously, avoid distractions, and always drive sober. No exceptions! Setting out and enforcing rules should be a part of your mutual agreement between parent and child for borrowing a vehicle.  It also demonstrates to your teen that there are real consequences when rules are broken. If you or your teen were in involved in an accident that resulted in injuries, speak to our personal injury lawyers at Zayouna Law.