Parents: Behind the Wheel, Do as I Say, Not as I Do

According to a recent article in the Worcester Telegram, parents routinely engage in the exact dangerous driving habits they warn their kids against – including driving while intoxicated.

403_dutch_weed.jpgResearch done by a Boston-based insurance company indicates more than 40 percent of teens have tried to get their parents to stop texting while driving, and almost 20 percent of teens have tried to get their parents to stop driving while high on marijuana.

As your Boston drunk driving car accident lawyer can explain, the official name of the criminal charge in Massachusetts is operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Driving while high on marijuana or any other drug is treated the same as drunk driving. Driving while high is a negligent act that puts everyone else on the road at risk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that drivers high on drugs have a slower reaction time, which can be a proximate or contributing cause in a deadly car accident. These intoxicated drivers also have trouble maintaining a constant speed and staying in the appropriate driving lane.

NHTSA has developed a program for training police officers to recognize indicators that someone is driving while intoxicated on drugs. Officers who complete the training program can become certified Drug Recognition Experts (DREs).

According to the study authors, many parents seem to simply ignore or dismiss safety warnings from their children. These are the very same parents who are inundating children with warnings against dangers behind the wheel.

Texting and use of smart phones while driving was heavily discussed, as this form of distracted driving is one of the most common causes of deadly car accidents in the United States. According to NHTSA, there are more than 3,300 distraction-related car crashes each year. NTSA classified distracted drivers as those using cellphones, eating or grooming while driving.

In addition to NHTSA, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have taken an active role in the prevention of distraction-related car crashes. While the focus has largely been preventing teens from texting while driving, efforts are being made to target parents and other adults in an effort to reduce the number of deaths on the road.

Whether the at-fault driver was drunk, high on drugs or distracted by their phone, these crashes are entirely preventable.

Every driver has a duty of care to protect others on the road from foreseeable personal injury and property damage. This is the basic standard of care required in a car accident negligence lawsuit. It if can be proven that the at-fault driver was either drunk, high on drugs, or using a cell phone at the time of the accident, the plaintiff will likely be in a very good position with respect to proving liability.

Parents in particular should consider the next time they get behind the wheel that the person may injure may be the very person they have worked so hard to protect.

If you have been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Parents admit to dangerous driving habits they warn kids against, August 5, 2014, Worcester Telegram
More Blog Entries:

Massachusetts Woman Sentenced to Jail for Alcohol-Related Car Crash, July 15, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog

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