With the school year on the horizon, many teenagers who recently got their licenses will be on the streets of New York much more often. It is an important part of their developments, but it is also one of the most dangerous. The New York Department of Health reports that motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes for teen deaths in the state.

While there are many factors that contribute to the death count, one of the most common causes in recent times is distracted driving. Many believe it is natural as more teenagers are becoming increasingly addicted to their cellular devices, but a recent report by Liberty Mutual Insurance suggests that parents may be part of the problem.

They found that parents and their children have nearly identical rates of phone usage while driving. If parents want to prevent their teenagers from getting hurt on the highways, they must take steps to encourage their kids to put down their phones after getting behind the wheel.

Demonstrate good habits in person

If a child witnesses their parent go on the phone and talk, text or take selfies while driving, then they think they should be able to do that too. In New York, parents should refrain from doing this even when there is no child in the car, as the state bans any cell phone usage on the road. Parents should remind their kids of this statewide law and refrain from using the phone while in the car unless it is an emergency situation.

Contact children at the right time

One way that parents unintentionally contribute to distracted driving accidents is choosing to text or call while their child is on the road. Most expect an immediate response to the message, so they might do it repeatedly until the teen picks up the phone and tries to make it stop. Parents should learn more about their child’s daily routine to avoid trying to message them in the middle of New York traffic. If the parent talks to them and learns that their child is in the middle of driving, they should end the call as soon as they can.

Punish for negligence

The study from Liberty Mutual also found that about 37 percent of the parents do not punish their teens for breaking driving laws. They feel that taking away driving privileges would be more inconvenient for them than their child because they have to shift their schedules to revolve more around their kids.

However, there is more than one way to punish teenagers for driving irresponsibly. Parents should aim to find a consequence that can convince their child to avoid careless driving rather than just issue a simple warning. Less discipline means there is a higher chance the child will not learn from their mistakes.

Those injured from the crash of a distracted teenager or parent can file for personal injury action and should receive legal aid to get compensation for their damages.