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Posted in Car Accident on August 4, 2018
The National Safety Council (NSC) recently reported that traffic fatalities decreased between 2016 and 2017 by a small margin of 227 fewer deaths. In addition to the 40,100 traffic-related fatalities in 2017, more than 4.57 million people required emergency medical attention for serious injuries and the net cost to American taxpayers totaled nearly $414 billion. These statistics only represent about a 1% decrease from 2016 statistics, showing little improvement across the board in terms of preventing traffic injuries and fatalities.
Teens are generally at a higher risk of sustaining injuries in car accidents due to inexperience. Most teens earn their driver’s licenses around the ages of 16 to 18, and younger drivers typically lack the caution and muscle memory most veteran drivers develop over time. Males are generally at a higher risk of death in traffic accidents than females, with about twice the number of males as females being killed in traffic accidents from 1975 to 2015. The fatal accident rate is about three times higher for teen drivers per mile driven.
About 11 teenage drivers die every day due to texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving causes about 15% of all traffic crashes and 10% of fatal crashes. Disturbingly, about 90% of teen drivers reported using cell phones while driving despite being aware of the dangers.
Although modern teenagers are accustomed to technology and multitasking, doing so behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous. A driver taking his or her eyes off the road for even a few seconds at considerable speed is essentially the same as driving blind for the length of a football field or more.
Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, but this does not stop countless American teens from experimenting with alcohol. About 17% of teen drivers killed in accidents in 2014 had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08%. Although any driver is at a significantly higher risk of experiencing an accident while driving under the influence, this risk is especially high for teenage drivers who are inexperienced with both alcohol and driving.
Parents should make it clear to their teens that experimenting with alcohol is dangerous, but it is even more dangerous to attempt to drive while intoxicated or to get into a car with an intoxicated driver. Make sure your teen knows he or she can contact you for a ride if alcohol would hamper safe driving. As long as teens appreciate the severe risks associated with driving under the influence, they will more than likely be more willing to accept parental punishment for alcohol use than getting into a serious accident and potential legal trouble.
A teen earning a driver’s license is a major milestone, and a teen driver will likely be very anxious to get behind the wheel with his or her friends. While driving around with friends can be fun and liberating, teen drivers should know how to limit distractions inside the vehicle. Teens are prone to engage in horseplay and enthusiastic conversations that may distract a driver and cause an accident. Parents should make sure their teen drivers know to keep things calm inside the car while driving and to ensure all passengers wear seatbelts to limit the risk of a serious injury.
Teen drivers can mitigate these risks with good judgment and common sense. Parents should make sure they feel comfortable with a teen’s driving ability before allowing him or her to drive alone, and it’s important to have conversations about the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence. By cultivating good behaviors early, parents of teen drivers can have more peace of mind about the safety of their children on the road.