Whether good drivers or bad, skilled or distracted, teenage motorists have always worried those with whom they share the roads. In Virginia, though, local residents have every reason to be concerned: In the very first month of this year, more than 10 teenage drivers have lost their lives on area roads.

The new year has been a rough one for young drivers. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 24, a total of 11 teens were killed in car accidents. Last year, the same time period saw only three teenage auto crash traffic fatalities.

One concerned figure is Sgt. Tim Wyatt, a Roanoke County Police officer and part of the Blue Ridge Regional Crash Investigation Teams. According to Wyatt, most teen driving accidents are preventable, and the local community must stress education and responsibility. He says that parents and grandparents need to talk to their young family members directly and remind them of the importance of safe driving.

Fastening their seat belts, driving at reasonable speeds, and deliberately avoiding distractions are among the most important steps teen drivers can take to steer clear of car accidents. Additional safety measures teens can take include using cell phones only in emergencies and obeying all posted guidelines. Parents and community members can also contribute by setting firm rules and committing to ongoing driver education.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite an emphasis in the last several decades of the importance of seat belt use, five of the young people who died were not buckled up. Additionally, one of the deaths was attributed to alcohol use.

Unfortunately, traffic accidents are still a big part of our lives. When people are hurt as a result of the actions of others, a personal injury attorney can help them to seek the compensation they deserve as a result of their injuries.

Source: Northern Virginia Daily, “Safety groups: Teen traffic deaths on rise in Virginia this year,” Jan. 26, 2012