Keeping Teenage Drivers Safe In Massachusetts

As we all know, keeping teenage drivers safe is a huge undertaking.  Teenagers get into motor vehicle accidents at a very high rate.  And, more teenage deaths are caused by motor vehicle negligence than any other cause.   Summertime adds all sorts of additional challenges to this:  there is no school and there is more time off!   We have gleaned some hints for parents and guardians to share with their young drivers.
First, young adults learn from…you!  Drive safely, don’t use a cell phone, don’t allow folks to neglect seat belts.  They learn from what you do.  Texting and driving is illegal under Massachusetts law.  Explain why you are doing what you do; it’s safer and since motor vehicles on roads are inherently dangerous, we need to do all of these things to be safe.

Use proper vehicles for teens.  Large vehicles can be harder to drive.  Small vehicles can be too dangerous.  Sport utility vehicles have a greater propensity to roll.

Teenagers and Motor Vehicle Insurance

First, remember to add your new driver to your insurance policy.  An insurance company can deny coverage if you failed to cover a driver that you were obligated to cover.  They look for reasons to deny coverage, in our experience, and this can be a legitimate one.

We have written over and over about having sufficient insurance.  This especially includes un and under insurance policy coverage that far exceeds the minimum insurance requirements in Massachusetts.  This is critical for owners who do not have teenagers as well.  Of course, raising the deductable can help save you money, but, since teenagers are more likely to get into an accident, be prepared to pay the deductable.

Massachusetts Law on Teenage Driving

Be sure you know the Massachusetts law on teenage driving.  Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 8, when under 18, the “license” is a junior license and prohibits driving any friends or neighbors for six months, unless they have a supervising driver over the age of 21 with them.  Between 18 and 21, they can’t drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. unless with a parent.

Governors Highway Safety Association Grants and Teenage Driving Safety

The GHSA provides grants funded by the Ford Driving Skills for Life which were announced recently:  Massachusetts was one of five award recipients. The monies in Massachusetts will go to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division where a program is being developed to match teens with professional drivers to learn crash avoidance.  Eliminating distractions will be a focus of the course.  In Georgia, $20,000 in $500 scholarships for teenagers to serve on an all-teen board to plan and implement a Savannah based teen driving safety event.  In Maine, the same funds will be targeted to produce a distracted driving video.  Further, monies will fund teen radio station events to sponsor a contest centering on driving and proms.  Mississippi will focus its funding award on four high schools, with events at other schools as well.  Finally, Utah will focus on teens being prepared for winter driving safety – Salt Lake City can average 2 inches of snow a day during the winter!

Motor Vehicle Attorney Experienced With Teenagers In Accidents

Since 1985 Attorney Neil Burns has represented victims of teenage accidents.  We have represented teenagers and their families, and victims of teenager negligence.  Call us for a free consultation and get a lawyer with experience.  Call 617-227-7423.

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