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Are Parents Liable When Their Teen Driver Causes a Car Accident?

Parents are responsible for teaching their children to be safe and act responsibly, including when they are behind the wheel. Tennessee readers know that teen drivers are often too immature, ill-prepared or inexperienced to operate a vehicle safely. What many readers do not know is that parents may actually be liable when a teen driver causes a car accident, resulting in injuries and damage.

According to statistics, one of the biggest risks to teen drivers is when they drive with a passenger in the car. In fact, just one non-family passenger increases the chances of a car accident by 44 percent. With each subsequent passenger, that chance increases. It is thought that passengers could be more of a danger than a phone or other technological device.

One of the greatest reasons of accidents involving young drivers is the use of phones. Distraction is a major problem for all age demographics, but for teens, it is particularly dangerous. Studies have indicated that teens engage with their devices several times per trip, even when driving down the road just a short distance. When a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, even just for a second, it can have detrimental consequences.

Young drivers, particularly those 16 and 17 years old, have a higher risk for a car accident than older, more experienced drivers. Even when minor drivers cause accidents, the person who owns the vehicle or the parent of the driver may be accountable for the damages suffered. After an accident involving a negligent teen driver, a Tennessee victim may explore his or her options for compensation by speaking with a personal injury attorney.

Source: seattletimes.com, “Teen drivers: When helicopter parenting is critical“, Bruce Feiler, April 11, 2016