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Preventing teen accidents

Far too many teens are killed in traffic accidents each year. It is important for parents in West Virginia and around the country to teach their children safe driving practices in order to reduce their risk of becoming another statistic.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic deaths increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 over 2014. This year-over-year increase was the largest since the 1960s. The Governors Highway Safety Association found that the increase of fatalities for teenagers was 10 percent, which was larger than for any other age group. Unfortunately, estimates for 2016 indicate that the problem is continuing, and work must be done to address it. Parents should talk with their teens about safe driving practices. Teens should learn to say something if they are passengers in cars with drivers who are driving in unsafe manners. Parents should also demonstrate good driving practices by not using their cellphones, always wearing seat belts, not speeding and never driving impaired.

According to the NHTSA, there were several factors that contributed to the increase. Distracted driving was the biggest cause of fatal accidents caused by human choices, accounting for an 8.8 percent increase. People who were killed when they were not using seat belts increased by 4.9 percent. Impaired driving and speeding accounted for 3.2 and 3.0 percent respectively.

Car accidents that have been caused by a negligent driver can result in serious injuries to passengers as well as to occupants of other vehicles. When the driver is a teenager driving his or her parents' car, an attorney representing an injured victim might find it advisable to file a lawsuit seeking to hold the parents financially responsible for the plaintiff's losses under the family car doctrine.

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