The 2009 National Teen Driver Safety Week, which ended on October 24, highlights the importance of parents supervising their teen’s driving habits and establishing and enforcing rules of the road throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and the fourth leading cause of injury-related ER visits for those in the15-19 age group.

Under a resolution passed by Congress, the third weekend of October has been set aside for this national awareness campaign.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, one-vehicle crashes are the most common type of crash involving teens. Speed, lack of seat belt use, inexperience, and alcohol use are contributing factors to fatalities and serious injuries in these crashes.

The DMV adds that parents and caregivers play a crucial role in teen driver safety right from the beginning: “Take your teen out to practice their skills, set clear ground rules and stick to them, and most importantly, be a good role model. Always buckle up, obey speed limits, and don’t drive aggressively.”

Virginia law imposes certain restrictions on teenage drivers in the state, including…

  • Drivers under 18 who hold a learner’s permit or driver’s license are prohibited from driving between midnight and 4 a.m.
  • Drivers under 18 may carry only one passenger under age 18 during the first year that he or she has a driver’s license.
  • Drivers under 18 who hold a learner’s permit or driver’s license are prohibited from using any cell phone or any other wireless device (including handhelds), except in an emergency.

Violators of either the curfew or passenger restrictions are subject to a license suspension.

The Virginia State Police reports that Virginia traffic deaths among teens in 2009 have decreased by approximately 34 percent as compared to 2008. The State Police also notes that preliminary DMV numbers for 2009 to date indicate that 47 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have been killed statewide, of whom 27 were drivers.

Although the focus of this awareness campaign is on the teenage motorist, car accidents brought about by distracted, reckless, or impaired drivers of all ages unfortunately cause serious injuries or death every day on Virginia’s roads. If you–or someone you love–have been injured in a Virginia automobile accident, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Personal Injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C., Toll Free 877-544-5323, for a no-obligation consultation.


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