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.