Archive for driving tips

What You Need to Know About Teaching Your Teen to Drive


Young drivers have some of the highest crash rates globally, but parents can take the necessary steps to minimize these incidents. Generally speaking, this crash rate is high because teens lack the experience to get themselves out of dangerous situations while driving. They are also more likely to drive while distracted. If parents take the time to teach their teens how to drive before allowing them to drive on their own, many accidents can be prevented.

Start in the Parking Lot

Before permitting your teen to drive on the road, have them practice extensively in a parking lot. Make sure they can drive in a straight line both forwards and backwards before moving into more advanced techniques. Starting and stopping are also important skills to learn, as your teen should be able to accelerate and decelerate smoothly. The parking lot is also a great place to practice turning, as the teen should not cut corners or go too fast. Try to limit your parking lot sessions to about 20 minutes, then extend them as the teen becomes more comfortable.

Leaving the Parking Lot

Eventually, you can take your teen out of the parking lot and let them drive on the road. This is always a scary time for parents, but it is part of the driving process. To minimize the stress on you and your teen, determine the route that you will travel before you depart.

Stay away from busy parts of town. This allows your teen to slowly integrate into traffic. As they get more comfortable driving on the street in residential areas, you can begin taking them to business areas of town that have more traffic. Be careful that you do not overwhelm your teenager with this scenario and keep the route relatively short.

Bad Weather

If you live in an area with extreme weather, you might want to prevent your teen from driving in these conditions at first. Snow and ice are particularly dangerous; even experienced drivers can struggle when the road is slippery. This is another scenario where you should start in the parking lot and then slowly allow them to drive on the road. Taking your teen to the parking lot to get used to how the car handles snow gives them a good base from which to learn. It can also encourage them to be extra careful during these conditions.

Create Rules

As with anything else involving your teen’s behavior, it is important that you set boundaries. Begin by having rules that determine where your teen is allowed to drive and how late they are allowed to stay out. You might also want to restrict the number of passengers that your teen is allowed to carry.

More passengers increase the chances that your teen will become distracted while driving. Have a set list of punishments to be implemented if your teen breaks any of these rules. That way, they know what the consequences will be if they choose to ignore the guidelines that you have created.

Distracted Driving

In addition to driving with too many passengers, many teens now use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. This is an escalating problem that causes numerous accidents every year. It does not matter if the driver is making a phone call, sending a text message or surfing the internet from behind a global VPN. Using a phone while driving is dangerous.

In fact, the FCC reported that over 400,000 vehicle-related injuries in 2010 were the direct result of driving while distracted. Also, 11 percent of all accidents involving drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 occurred, because one of the drivers was texting. By setting a good example when you drive, you can hopefully prevent your teen from exhibiting any of this dangerous behavior.

6 Top Defenses in a DWI Case

Drinking and drivingAnyone arrested for driving while intoxicated knows the government is serious about stopping this illegal behavior, but there are some methods of defense that can possibly reduce the charge to a lesser impact. Even when the situation appears obvious, being aware of the possibilities is still important. Officers must follow an investigation and arrest protocol in order to establish a solid case, and a good criminal defense attorney understands how to evaluate a case for legal weaknesses.

1. Ambiguous Charges
Charges of driving while intoxicated are not always as simple as they appear. A field sobriety test, according to attorney Evan Levow, “is 68% at most, barely a passing school grade, and not reliable at all for members of certain groups, including anyone 65 years or older, or people with certain medical conditions or injuries, or who are considered overweight as defined by being 50 pounds or more overweight.” Other than a breathalyzer test, there is often little evidence other than the officer’s testimony. Of course, courts routinely accept officer testimony as absolute truth, but an effective criminal defense attorney can counter that evidence if it is faulty. 2. Bad Arrest Report

There is a paper trail for every impaired driving arrest. The arrest report contains real information that can be used as a defense if there are errors, such as arrest and detainment times. There are specific legal rules that must be followed in arrest protocol, and a bad arrest report can be legal evidence to motion for case dismissal. Always remember that the government is not entitled to a prosecution. 3. Borderline Intoxication

BAC tests are mechanical, but they are not perfect by any stretch. The court accepts them as material evidence, but machines do not always act appropriately and they are operated by people. Most cases for driving while intoxicated are prosecuted on borderline impairment. All prosecutors have the authority to adjust a case by one level without any question, so a DWI with a .08 BAC can be reduced to reckless driving if the prosecutor is willing to reduce the charge. 4. No Miranda Reading

This may sound simple, but it is a valid defense. When an officer handcuffs a defendant, the rights should be explained during the arrest process. The suspect becomes a defendant when the handcuffs are applied. More importantly, the investigation is over. Never offer any information to the investigating officer that he does not request, and then be selective about answering any questions. Once the cuffs are on, the next step should be contacting a lawyer and staying quiet.

5. Illegal Detainment

Illegal detainment occurs more often than people realize. There are rules governing detainment and it is entirely possible that an officer will hold a suspect beyond the legal limit. An example of this situation is medical evaluation. Officers must have a court ordered search warrant to utilize blood evaluation, and the suspect still has the right of refusal and accept a contempt charge.

6. Bargaining for a Reckless Driving Reduction

This is the most practical defense for a charge of driving while intoxicated. Blood alcohol content levels below .05 are not sufficient for prosecution for adults. This is the legal limit. Underage defendants and commercial drivers are charged at .02. The range from .05 to .08 is reckless driving, and some states designate this charge with an alcohol notation.

Any opportunity to modify a DWI charge should be taken seriously. Keeping a case out of the impaired driving category is always an option in borderline cases. Reduced charges means the criminal record is not listed as a DWI and does not count in any subsequent charge. Always remember that a DWI is based on prior charges in a given time period and can impact any future charge.

Author Molly Pearce often writes on legal issues in hopes to shed light on rights people never knew they had. For some of her research she turned to the site of NJ DWI attorney, Evan Levow, which includes a state by state DUI penalties list, an informative blog, and a DIY blood alcohol calculator.
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