Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time for teenagers. However, along with their legal ability to drive comes the increased risk of accidents.
Teenagers are a major cause of car crashes due to various factors. There are things that state governments and parents can do to lower this risk.
Facts and stats related to teenage drivers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of teenagers sustain injuries and around seven teens die on a daily basis due to car crashes. The job loss and medical costs related to these accidents are multi-billion dollars every year. Teens who recently received their licenses, males and teens driving with other teens present are at the highest risk of being in accidents.
Inexperience is one of the biggest causes of crashes among teens, as are:
- Driving at night or on weekends
- Using drugs or alcohol
The lack of seatbelt use is a major contributing factor to fatal and non-fatal injuries, as almost 50% of teenagers who were the victims of accident-related deaths were not wearing seatbelts.
Accident prevention strategies
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines some strategies to improve a teenager’s driving experience and reduce accidents. All states currently have some type of graduated driver licensing program. This program outlines certain restrictions for new drivers and gradually eases them as the teenager gains more experience behind the wheel.
Parents play a major role in their teenager’s driving ability. First, they can ensure the teen follows the GDL system. Second, they can be good role models when behind the wheel. This means following traffic signs, driving the speed limit and avoiding phone use and other distractions. Third, they can help the teen get experience by riding along with them and guiding them through different driving situations.