Spring may be slow in coming to New England, but warmer weather and brighter
days bring prom season to the region so it is important to remember that
safety should always be a priority.
If you have a teen, our Maine attorneys at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. wants
to help you keep them safe. This is especially true for teens who get
behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Remember, teens are inexperienced
on the road, and are often prone to mistakes that can lead to preventable
car accidents. If you have a novice driver on your hands, give them a reminder of their
rights and responsibilities as motorists as they hit the road and celebrate
spring with friends.
Distracted driving – Driver distraction has become one of the primary driving forces
behind nationwide increases in auto accident injuries and fatalities.
In fact, experts and safety advocates refer to distracted driving as a
national epidemic. Remind your new driver that operating a motor vehicle
safely should always be the primary focus when they head out on the road
and that all forms of distraction can be dangerous, including eating and
driving, talking with passengers, personal grooming and reading. Check
the provisions of your teen’s driver’s license to find out
if there are limitations on the number of passengers they can have in
a vehicle, as teens can become easily distracted by a car full of friends.
Texting and cell phone use – While all forms of distraction are dangerous, using a handheld
cell phone to place a call, e-mail, use apps or internet, or text message
is considered the most concerning type of distraction. This is because
using a handheld device takes a driver’s visual, mental, and manual
attention away from the road and the act of driving, which substantially
increases crash risks. Remind your teen driver that using a phone or sending
a text can wait until they are safely off the road, and that even one
text can have life-altering consequences. Also remind them that Maine
law prohibits drivers with a learner or intermediate license from using
any type of handheld device behind the wheel. All drivers in the state
are also prohibited from text messaging while driving.
Impaired driving – Although younger drivers may not always be of legal age to drink
alcohol, it hasn’t stopped many teens and young adults from drinking
with friends. Remind your child that driving under the influence of alcohol,
marijuana, and even prescription drugs should never happen, and that it
can have profound consequences on their lives, including criminal penalties,
and the lives of any victims they harm in preventable wrecks. If a novice
driver does partake in alcohol, they should always understand the importance
of not driving. If necessary, sober rides, taxis, rideshare apps, and
even a call to mom and dad are better choices than getting behind the
wheel while intoxicated.
Out-of-town drivers – Come spring and summer months, there is often an increase in traffic
from tourists who flock to the region. This can present a number of dangers
on our roads, especially when out-of-town drivers are unfamiliar with
the local landscape, roadways, and local laws. Remind your children that
there may be more drivers on the road, and that these drivers may not
always be locals. As such, they should always follow vehicles at a safe
distance, use their turn signals, and be vigilant of what other driver’s
do and may do on the road.
Curfew: Always know where your child will be when they leave the house, as well
as who they will be with and what time they should be expected home. Remember,
Maine enforces a curfew that prohibits drivers under 18 from driving between
midnight and 5:00 am.
Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. hopes everyone has a safe and enjoyable spring.
Should precautionary safety measures still not be enough to prevent injuries
caused by the negligence of others, families throughout Northern New England
can find the support and legal representation they need by speaking to
a Maine personal injury lawyer from our firm.
Contact us today to discuss a potential case.