E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law
Serving Lynchburg Since 1982
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Teen drivers, peer pressure and reckless driving

As the parent of a teenage driver, it's a call that you dread: Your teen just got arrested for unsafe driving practices and you need to come bail them out of jail.

It's not the call you dread the most. At least your teen is not in the hospital and did not lose their life in a serious traffic accident. And you may take some solace in that fact. However, you are all too aware that their life may still change forever because of this. How could they make this type of mistake when you worked so hard with them to make sure they understood the importance of safe driving?

The role of peer pressure

As with many other decisions that teenagers make, peer pressure could play a role. Young drivers may not fully understand how dangerous the roads are. They also want to fit in, they want to be liked and they want to impress people. Even a small amount of peer pressure could lead to things like:

  • Driving after drinking alcohol
  • Breaking the speed limit
  • Engaging in street racing
  • Running a red light
  • Running a stop sign
  • Driving aggressively
  • Driving too fast in dangerous conditions
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Taking pictures or using phone apps
  • Texting and driving
  • Ignoring basic rules of the road or specific teen driver rules
  • Turning up the radio to a distracting volume

These are just a few examples, but they really help to show the influence that peer pressure can have and how it can lead to a traffic stop. In some cases, it can even lead to an arrest.

The future

You want to focus on the immediate issue at hand, of course, but you also have to think about the future. What is this situation going to mean for your teen's high school education, college education, career path and much more? How could this shape the rest of their life?

Some issues could be fairly minor, such as a speeding ticket. Maybe that's basically a warning to your teen that they do need to follow the rules. Other situations are more problematic, though, like repeated arrests for drunk driving. These types of arrests can make certain future choices impossible and could define the way that your son or daughter's life plays out. That's important to them and to you as a parent.

Legal options

As such, it is important for both you and your teen driver to know what legal options exist. This is a situation you must deal with, whether you expected it or not, and you need to know what steps to take to help protect that future that your child has worked toward all their life.

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