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Teen Related Auto Accidents

It is a well-known fact that car accidents are the leading cause of teen death in America. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicated that fifteen to twenty year olds die of car accident injuries more often than anything else in the country. The study also reported that two out of every three teens killed in an auto accident are males. While these statistics are daunting, there is hope for improvement. Strict licensing statutes and teen driving laws have been proven effective in battling the teen mortality rate on the roads. 

The vehicle a teen driver uses has a big impact on the amount of accidents he or she has. A vehicle with major horsepower should never be a teen’s mode of transportation. This age group is notorious for making rash decisions that lead to trouble.  Giving a teen a car with a powerful engine and a disproportionate weight to horsepower ration can be a recipe for disaster. Simply getting behind the wheel can be too much of a temptation to test the limits of speed for some teens. 

Safety ratings are another big issue in teen driving. A teen driver’s vehicle should have the highest safety rating possible. Larger cars, which offer more protection than smaller, compact cars are thought to be good choices for teen but, they also have a higher roll-over rating than smaller cars. Extra safety features like a back-up camera are suggested.  

Graduated Driver Licensing or (GDL) is used in some form in most states. It has been proven to reduce the rate of teen driving fatalities in many states. In this program, teens are required to complete three separate steps to obtain full driving privileges. The first step is a supervised learning program. Teens in this phase of the program are required to take written tests and upon passing are given a learners permit and allowed to operate a vehicle under adult supervision only for a specified number of hours. Once the supervised learning phase is completed, the student will receive an intermediate driver’s license. This allows the student to drive without supervisory observation but requires the teen follow a number of set rules. Those rules can include curfew restrictions, cell phone and passenger restrictions and a limit on driving infractions. After age and testing requirements are met, students are able to obtain a full-fledged driver’s license. The actual requirements and restrictions for teen driver’s licenses vary from state to state.  

Recent studies have also shown that teens carrying passengers are at higher risk for a fatal accident. The risk actually increases with the number of passengers in the car. The AAA’s most recent safety studies show that teen passengers are distracting for teen drivers but adult passengers have the opposite effect and actually lower the risk of accident. Most states have graduated driving licensing restrictions on how many minor passengers a teen driver can have. Most states allow only one minor passenger without adult supervision. Teen drivers can be a danger to themselves as well as others on the road. Using the states restrictions on teen drivers as well as home instruction and rules can go a long way in keep American teen drivers safe. 

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