Car Accidents and the Youth
According to the Center for Disease Control, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States at 36% of all teen deaths. More than 5,000 teens per year die in car accidents each year and more than 400,000 are seriously injured. In fact, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are more at risk than any other age group. With serious statistics at hand, it’s time to take a more concerning look at teen drivers and their habits.
The many studies conducted on teen drivers have shown myriad reasons why this age group are especially at risk for car accidents. There is no secret behind it, in fact, it’s a matter of common sense. As a whole, teenagers are impulsive and flighty. They make rash decisions and forget their common sense at the door when they go out with friends. One study even showed that teen male drivers are even more at risk when driving with a male teen passenger.
The habits and inclinations of teen drivers put them at a greater risk of accident than adult drivers. Adult drivers have more experience on the road, but also more life experience. This allows them to make better driving decisions as well as take less risks and weigh out the consequences of their driving practices. Teen brains are not capable of making adult decisions and it often shows in their driving patterns.
Biggest Teen Driving Accident Factors
- Teens are more inclined to speed
- Teens are inexperience drivers
- Teens are easily distracted by their passengers and other elements
- Teens are more inclined to run red lights from careless driving and daredevil antics
- Teen drivers have the lowest rate of seatbelt usage among all drivers
Inexperience on the road is one of the largest factors causing teen car accidents. While there is no solution for that problem but to drive and gain experience, there are dangers in the meantime. Without proper driving time and experience, teen drivers often underestimate precarious driving situations and are unable to recognize dangerous conditions.
Driving under the influence is also a problem for teen drivers. Most accidents involving teens happen during the weekend, especially Friday and Saturday nights. With no school the next day, teens use these nights to party, hang out with their friends and sometimes drink and drive. The Center for Disease Control states that no matter the BAC or blood alcohol concentration, teens are at a higher risk for accidents than drivers in other age groups.
Parents can help protect their teen drivers by being aware of everywhere they are driving and who will be in the car with them. Open and honest communication about the dangers of driving, the risk of accidents and the potential legal trouble that can occur after an accident can go a long way. Peer pressure discussions are equally important with an emphasis on what can occur in a car accident. Keeping car keys away from underage drivers is also a good idea.
The dangers of teen driving are part of the growing up process. Parents must be vigilant in explaining the dangers they could encounter to deter any tragic circumstances. While these dangers must be taken seriously, it’s ok to loosen up and have fun with your teen driver. Enjoy the experience while you can.