Keeping Your Teen Safe Behind the Wheel

When your teen announces that they’ve passed their driving test, which emotion dominates—excitement or anxiety? Anxiety takes over in most parents of young drivers, in the face of statistics showing that teenagers are far more likely than older drivers to text in the car or make poor judgment calls behind the wheel.

Does this mean that you should not let your teen drive? No; it simply means that you need to take extra steps to keep them safe and give them a solid foundation of driving skills.

If the worst happens and an accident does take place, take quick action to learn your options. Call Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys at 770-961-1700 for your free case evaluation.

Be the Example They Need

We’re all guilty of occasionally driving in an unsafe manner. However, to give your teen driver the best chance at building safe driving habits, you need to be a strong example as often as possible. That means putting your phone away while driving, avoiding road rage, using your turn signal, and maintaining a safe speed. The idea that a teen driver should “do as I say, not as I do” is unrealistic. They copy what they see, so make sure that what they see is worth copying.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology can put teen drivers at a significant disadvantage. The lure of the phone is always there, tempting teenagers to just check that last text message or watch a friend’s Instagram story. But technology can also be a benefit when driving! There are tons of technological tools that can hold teen drivers accountable.

First, talk to your insurance agent about tools their company offers for teen drivers. Many have tech that tracks the car’s speed, location, braking speed, and more. This is transmitted to the parent’s phone, allowing them to see how fast their teen is driving and if they are driving anywhere that they shouldn’t be. In many cases, knowing that this tool is in the vehicle is enough to make teens think twice about taking unnecessary risks.

You can also look into apps that prevent drivers from using their phones while driving. There are those that sense your speed and automatically lock all phone features (except emergency calls) until the vehicle is stopped. There are also reward-based apps that literally pay money when you drive without using your phone.

Some newer vehicles have settings that make it uncomfortable or annoying to drive without a seatbelt. They might ring progressively louder alarms when the vehicle is in motion and a seatbelt isn’t buckled or even refuse to go into drive if the driver’s seatbelt isn’t on. Others send notifications to a preset phone number if a driver is not wearing their seatbelt. These are all options to consider to keep your teen safe.

Discuss Major Risk Behaviors

Teenagers often have a difficult time understanding risk. Serious car accidents are things that happen to other people, not them—in their mind, anyway. Talk to them about how one seemingly innocuous action can leave them paralyzed or dead, or leave them with the knowledge that they are responsible for another person’s death. Risky behaviors to talk about include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Not using a seatbelt
  • Having too many passengers
  • Driving after dark
  • Driving too fast
  • Using a phone while driving

Practice More Than You Think They Need

Teenagers require a surprisingly low number of practice hours before they can take their driving test. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need more practice, though. After hitting the minimum amount of hours, look at your teen’s driving critically. What do they need more practice with? How would they fare with difficult situations while driving alone? Make sure they are comfortable in a variety of areas, situations, times of day, weather types, and street types before you let them loose on their own.

Contact Stein & Fox Attorneys to Learn More About Your Options After a Crash

No matter how carefully or safely your teen drives, accidents do happen sometimes. When they do, it is crucial to know your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Get the assistance you need now. Contact Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys at 770-961-1700 or get in touch with us online.

Negligent Entrustment and Third-Party Liability Claims in Georgia

Many auto accident cases are more complicated than they seem at first. While some involve just the drivers of the vehicles that crashed into each other, others involve third parties that did not directly cause the accident. One common situation in which this may be the case is when an individual is driving someone else’s car. In such cases, it may be possible to hold the owner of the vehicle liable under the legal theory known as negligent entrustment.

Georgia law allows a plaintiff to hold an individual or business liable for an injury or death in which that party was negligent in allowing someone to drive their vehicle whom they knew was unfit to operate the vehicle safely. Determining liability in an auto accident case in which there are multiple parties involved can be very challenging, however, and in a case like this, it is important for an injured individual to get an experienced attorney involved early on after the accident, so they can go to work immediately to build the strongest possible claim.

Proving a Negligent Entrustment Claim in Georgia

In order to succeed with a negligent entrustment personal injury action, several elements must be proven:

  • The defendant (who is accused of negligently entrusting the vehicle to another individual) owned or had control over the vehicle in question.
  • The driver of the vehicle was incompetent, incapable, or otherwise unfit to operate the vehicle safely.
  • The defendant had actual knowledge of the driver’s inability to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.
  • The unsafe driver’s actions were the proximate cause of the crash that injured the plaintiff or killed the plaintiff’s family member.

Most often, proving that the driver was unfit to safely operate the vehicle is among the most challenging aspects in a case like this. Here are some examples of individuals that might fall into a category like this:

  • A person who lacks the experience and/or training to be operating the vehicle.
  • A person who does not possess a valid driver’s license.
  • A person who has a medical condition (such as epilepsy) that makes them susceptible to seizures while driving.
  • An elderly individual.
  • A person who has a history of driving recklessly.
  • A person who is intoxicated and/or has a history of driving while intoxicated.

The doctrine of negligent entrustment often comes into play with drunk driving accident cases. Intoxication is clearly a physical impairment that renders an individual incapable of safely operating a vehicle. So, if a vehicle owner allows someone who they know is intoxicated to drive their vehicle, they can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that result from a crash caused by the drunk driver.

Negligent entrustment might also be used in a case in which the owner of a vehicle loaned the car to someone who they know has a history of habitual drunk driving or reckless driving, even if the individual was not intoxicated at the time they gained control of the vehicle. It may be more difficult to connect the dots in a case like this, but if it can be shown that the owner had direct knowledge of the driver’s history, then there is a good chance that they could be held liable.

Negligent Entrustment and Commercial Vehicle Accidents

The doctrine of negligent entrustment is often used in cases in which there is an employer/employee relationship between the owner and the driver of the vehicle. For example, if the driver of a large commercial truck (that is owned or leased by a trucking company) crashes into another vehicle and causes catastrophic injuries, the careless actions of the truck driver might be just one of several contributing factors.

Upon further investigation, it might be found that the driver was not adequately trained for the job and/or that individual had a prior record that should have precluded them from being hired in the first place. So ultimately, responsibility for the accident could fall upon the negligence of the trucking company that hired the driver.

Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Georgia Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident in Georgia, there might be more than one party that could be responsible, and there could be other factors that make the case more complicated. Before dealing with the insurance company for the other driver, it is very important to at least speak with an experienced attorney to review your case and discuss your legal options.

At Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys, we have several years of experience successfully representing car accident victims in Atlanta and nearby communities. Our firm is focused exclusively on personal injury law, and we work closely with our clients, taking the time to thoroughly investigate their claims and exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at (770) 961-1700. We look forward to serving you!

Be Safe This Labor Day Holiday

For many, the Labor Day weekend is the grand finale of the Summer. Although this year is a little different, in the past Labor Day weekend has been filled with festivals, parades, barbeques, and fireworks. However, it is also a dangerous weekend for many.

The National Safety Council urges Americans to drive defensively and designate a sober driver to help prevent an estimated 400 deaths and over 45,000 serious injuries on U.S. roadways during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period. Alcohol often is a major factor in fatal crashes during holiday weekends, including Labor Day.

Here are Some Tips for Safe Labor Day Travel:

  • Practice defensive driving, buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions;
  • Recognize the dangers of impairment from alcohol, cannabis and opioids; visit org/rxpainkillers to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis;
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits; visit org/DriveitHOME for resources;
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them: visit mycardoeswhat.org for information
  • Give yourself plenty of extra time to reach your destination; and
  • SLOW DOWN!

While these tips may be helpful, there are other drivers who do not follow proper safety protocol while operating a vehicle. Even if you follow all the guidelines, there are neglectful drivers on the road who may not prioritize your safety.

If you, or someone you love, are involved in a car accident during a holiday weekend, such as Labor Day, it may be in your best interest to pursue legal action. Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys have experience dealing with drunk, reckless, or negligent drivers who put the safety of others at risk during holiday weekends. Our compassionate attorneys are able to assist you in understanding your rights, filing your claim, or pursuing legal action against a reckless driver.

Contact us today for a free consultation.