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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Work-related crashes are a particular danger for young people

For teens and young adults who are working to pay for college or simply to have some extra spending money, their job may involve driving. Pizza delivery jobs are a good example of this.

Teens and young adults have higher rates of vehicle crashes than any other group. If you add to the mix driving an unfamiliar car or other vehicle and time pressures such as for deliveries, you may have a recipe for disaster. In fact, most work-related deaths of Americans between 16 and 24 are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Businesses owe it to all of their employees to do what they can to help ensure their safety when they're driving for the company. They are also required to follow state and federal laws regarding the ages at which young people are allowed to drive, what types of vehicles they can operate and under what circumstances.

There are a number of limitations on the conditions in which teens under 18 can drive for work-related purposes under federal child labor laws. For example, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees under 17 in non-agricultural jobs can't drive on a public road. The FLSA doesn't apply to agricultural workers 16 and over. However, these young workers and their employers are still bound by state traffic and graduated driver licensing laws.

If your child has a job that involves driving a vehicle (besides to and from work), make sure that you know what the applicable state and federal laws are and that your son or daughter's employer is complying with them. Make sure that your child is not being asked to do something that isn't in compliance with the law. It's important to discuss with your children any safety concerns that you or they may have about any aspect of their job and determine how to address those with the employer.

If a young worker is using a company-owned vehicle to make deliveries or for other work-related purposes, that vehicle should be well maintained. This goes for golf carts, all-terrain vehicles and bicycles as well. The employee may be required to undergo some training to use a particular vehicle.

If your child has been injured or worse in a work-related collision, it's essential to determine what responsibility his or her employer bears. A Georgia workers' compensation attorney can provide advice and support.

Source: CDC.gov, "Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers," accessed Jan. 15, 2016

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