America's teens are busier than ever before. With limited after-school hours for homework, extracurricular activities and the enticement of fun and friends, most teens do not get enough sleep.
This leads to young, inexperienced drivers who are also sleepy. A dangerous mix.
An accident waiting to happen
In February 2018, a teen fell asleep at the wheel early one morning. His vehicle drifted across several traffic lanes into a power pole assembly, causing 2,500 people to lose power. Thankfully, there were no personal injuries or vehicle damage to innocent motorists.
Teens need anywhere from eight to nine hours of sleep per night. However, about 90 percent of teens get less sleep. Teenagers account for over half of the car wrecks attributed to sleepy drivers each year.
Teen driving and road safety hazards
Parents would never dream of giving their son or daughter an alcoholic drink before allowing them to drive to school, yet that is what they do, in effect, most mornings of the school year. A sleep-deprived teen's mind shows effects similar to intoxication.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 100,000 motor vehicle accidents per year involving sleepy drivers are severe enough to garner police attention. More than 71,000 injuries and over 1,500 fatalities are among these accidents.
Help for parents with teenager driving accidents
In Ohio, a "follow the car" law means the owner is liable for motor vehicle accidents, even if the person was not in the vehicle at the time. Your insurance is responsible for the consequences of anything that happens involving your car.
Liability claims are not black and white. If a parent faces the consequences of an accident caused by a teen, she or he should consult with highly experienced professionals experienced in these types of situations. A parent does not need to assume the worst outcome.