For many teens in Nevada, getting a learner’s permit at fifteen and half years old, and a driver’s license at sixteen is a rite of passage. However, many parents feel hesitant about letting their teen get behind the wheel, usually fearing for their child’s safety driving on Nevada roadways. However, research shows there are in fact more pros than cons in allowing a young teen to learn how to drive. Additionally, what can be done to ensure teens don’t add to the recent surge in pedestrian accidents in the Las Vegas and Henderson area during the month of August?
Teaching Young Teens how to Drive
Many parents choose to opt out of allowing their children to drive at sixteen, waiting for their teen to become more mature before letting them get behind the wheel. While there is nothing wrong with this perspective, research shows that introducing students to driving at an earlier age can be beneficial. To begin, it is easier for teens to learn to drive at the age of sixteen, where their brain allows them to absorb information quicker, and lets them attempt something new without fear getting in the way.  Additionally, when parents are teaching teens to drive, they are in a unique position to instill driving advice, tips, and safe practices, as well as ensuring their teen is getting enough practice before getting their license. This is an opportunity parents would miss out on if their child were to obtain their license later on in life. Lastly, allowing teens to drive at a younger age can teach them valuable life skills such as time management and community responsibility while sharing the roads with other Nevadan’s, and money management when it comes to paying for gas and car insurance.
If parents choose to allow their teen to drive, they should consider implementing the following rules to ensure their child’s safety: 
- Parents should not allow young drivers unrestricted driving privileges until they have gained sufficient experience.
- Parents should limit their teen’s driving alone in adverse weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, fog, etc.) and at night until the teen has sufficient skills and experience.
- Parents must remind teens that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and dangerous and should be strictly prohibited.
- Parents should work out when and where the teen is allowed to drive the car (e.g. to and from part-time job, etc.).
- Everyone in the car must wear seat belts at all times.
- Parents should determine whether and when their teen can drive passengers. Nevada does not allow teens to drive non-related passengers until six months after obtaining their driver’s license.
- Parents should determine what behavior or circumstances will result in loss of the teen’s driving privileges.
- Teens should not drive when fatigued or tired.
- Headphones should never be worn while driving.
- Teens should not text or talk on the phone while driving.
- Helmets must be worn when riding a motorcycle.
- Teens should be encouraged to take an annual defensive driving course after obtaining their license.
By following these simple safety procedures, teens can reduce their chance of getting in car accidents and can be responsible driver’s on Nevada roads.
Surge in Pedestrian Accidents in August
In the month of August, the Las Vegas and Clark County area saw a rise in pedestrian accidents. On August 6, a Las Vegas pedestrian was struck on I-15 Northbound at 9:45 p.m. The man died of blunt force trauma. The Nevada Highway Patrol stated that they did not believe alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident. 
Later, on August 15, a hit-and-run accident in Northern Las Vegas injured an adult male, and claimed the life of his pet dog. The crash, which happened at 9:35 p.m., took place on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Gowan Road. 
Earlier, on August 11, Las Vegas pedestrian Thomas Burger, was struck and killed on US 95 northbound. This accident marked the thirty-first pedestrian fatality in Las Vegas during 2020. This also marked the second pedestrian incident on US 95 Northbound this month. 
These accidents are undoubtedly very unfortunate and serves as a good reminder to Las Vegas drivers and pedestrians to follow safety protocols when on the road, especially at night. Pedestrian should always remember to wear bright colors at night, and use marked crosswalks or pedestrian bridges. Drivers must remember that in Nevada pedestrians have the right of way, and they must stop at crosswalks and let the pedestrian’s cross. It is also important to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially when driving at night. 
Whether it be teen drivers or pedestrians at night, it is important that Nevadans pay extra close attention when on the road. Following simple safety precautions will both help prepare your teen drivers as well as help prevent motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents in Nevada.