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Teen Driving Under Your Influence

Recent studies show that young drivers make up the highest percentage of drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes:  the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 187,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were injured in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 1,963 drivers were killed. Though, the most troubling fact is that most teenage car crashes are 100 percent preventable.

Because of driving inexperience and unsafe driving habits, teenage drivers are more prone to engage in reckless or distracted driving. Statistics show they are more likely to speed, neglect seatbelts, text, and even drink while driving. They are also unable to recognize dangerous situations or poor road conditions where these habits can contribute to serious injuries – or even death.

As a parent, it’s imperative to discuss safe driving behavior and stress these types of consequences. Here are a few topics you should be sure to discuss with your teen:

1. Cell phone use– Regardless of age or experience, cell phone use is always dangerous while driving. Talking on the phone and texting while driving are both extremely distracting for any driver because it interferes with keeping focus on the road. Teens should consider turning their cell phones off, or even storing it somewhere out of reach while they drive to avoid the temptation.

2. Limiting number of passengers– Like cell phones, friends can also be distracting for any teen driver. Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving habits with peers than when they’re alone. More passengers in a vehicle heighten the risk of distraction.

3. Seat belt use– This is something all drivers should do, not just teens. Seatbelts are the single most effective tool for saving lives and preventing injuries. Seat belts can make the difference between life and death.

4. Substance abuse– No substance abuse should be tolerated, especially for underage teens. Any amount of alcohol for an individual under 21 raises their risk of receiving a DUI in addition to jeopardizing lives. You should also discuss the risks of being a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking or using other illegal substances.

5. Reviewing state driving laws– Discuss curfew times set by the state and the minimum number of practice hours required before getting a driver’s license. Ensure your teen fulfills all requirements and sets a foundation for safe driving. In addition to the state of Georgia’s driving laws, you should also discuss your expectations and restrictions of their driving privileges.

A parent will always worry about their teen hitting the roads for the first time, but educating them about safe habits, along with the consequences and rules of driving will help reduce the chances of an accident. Check out my website for more information on driving issues and DUI help and be sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

One Bad Decision Causes Harsh Consequences for Atlanta DUI Woman

atlanta dui consequencesLinda Lisska McJunkin had it all, and in a split second it was gone.  A well-known high school and college athlete with two degrees from Georgia Tech, a loving family, and a brand new real estate license to top it all off, Linda made a single bad decision in October 2004 that affected every decision she’d made prior.  After consuming four drinks out celebrating with friends, Linda drove drunk into head-on traffic and took two lives. Pleading guilty on two counts of vehicular homicide in Atlanta, she was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison. Released recently on parole for good behavior, she’ll spend the remainder of the 10 years on parole and 5 years remaining on probation.

Last month, Linda spoke publicly, for the first time since she was released from state prison, to a group of GA Tech student-athletes.  In a word, Linda could be described as humbled. The AJC quoted her saying, “I don’t think there’s a part of me that isn’t different.”  With college diplomas and real estate license in one hand and felony charge in the other, Linda now works retail for hourly wages.

As an Atlanta DUI lawyer, I hear stories just like this one all too often. When you hear a story like this on the news, it’s natural to think the worst of the driver who drove drunk and killed people. It’s devastating.  In no way am I defending Linda or saying what she did was right.  The point I’m trying to make is that before that October night, Linda was a regular person.  Just like you.  Just like me. She had everything going for her.  After a night out with friends, her main concern (consider it selfish or human nature) was getting home because she had to work the following morning.  She didn’t think about what could happen in response to her DUI in Atlanta; she really didn’t think at all.

People make the same mistake Linda made daily; the only difference is that Linda didn’t get away with it like so many others do. Drunk drivers get behind the wheel thinking they’ll be fine, they’re just going right down the road, and it’s no big deal.  Just ask Linda, vehicular homicide is a huge deal, which means even driving “tipsy” is a big deal.  So next time you consider driving, even just the least bit impaired, think about Linda’s story.  Think about Linda’s daughter and the years of her life that Linda missed while she was in prison.  Think about the two families who lost their sons in the accident.  Just think.

For more information on me, Mickey Roberts or MR GA DUI, visit my website and keep reading the blog.

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Disclaimer

The above information is intended to help educate members of the Georgia motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. Information within this site should not be misconstrued as legal advice.
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