Just this week there was a dramatic crash involving a school bus and a car driven by a high school student. The driver of the car was a teenage girl. She and her sister missed the bus and were on their way to high school.
The accident left four people injured, two in the car and two on the bus. This leaves many parents worried about how dangerous it is for their teenagers to be driving. And it also raises questions about just how safe it is for students on the bus?
Licensed social worker and CEO of Daniel, Jim Clark, shares how he talked to his teens about being safe and careful drivers when they were starting out.
Clark says when his kids were starting driving, no more than three people were allowed in the car at one time.
"It helped reduce distractions," Clark remembers. "Of course, we told them to always wear seat belts. And I taught them the importance of keeping the maintenance up on the car to help them understand how to responsible for the car."
Clark says there a few very important things parents can stress with their teens:
Don’t drive distracted
Whether that’s changing a radio station, making a phone call, or texting are all distractions. In 2011 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. AAA says now says that distracted driving accounts for 25 to 50 percent of all accidents.
Do not text and drive
Parents have to set a good example in this area. We’ve all seen the ads about the dangers of texting and driving. That danger is very real and driving distracted could end terribly. Research shows that texting causes a loss of focus on the road for five seconds; lot can go wrong in that time.
Turn on your headlights
When you use your headlights you increase your visibility and help other drivers see you, even on sunny days.
Obey the speed limit
Speeding causes about forty percent of all fatal teen accidents. That's especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or you're not familiar with.
Clark says there are apps that parents can have their kids download which keeps them from using the phone while the car is in motion.
When it comes to school buses, parents may not realize that Florida law states that any new school bus bought after Dec. 31, 2000, must be equipped with safety belts.
Clark says the issue here becomes a matter of kids actually wearing the seat belts.
"Remind your kids to buckle up even if other kids on the bus don’t do it," Clark suggests. "It doesn’t matter. It may not be popular, but it could be a lifesaver."