What Parents Need to Know About Teen Driving
Written by Greg on April 24, 2020
A recent horrific accident that left four teens dead at the hands of an unlicensed driver is one example of the dangers of inexperienced drivers.
It should come as no surprise to learn that the Center for Disease Control is one of the many federal organizations that work collaboratively to decrease teen injuries and fatalities due to car and truck crashes. A review of the teenage driving statistics should make it immediately evident.
As a whole, the majority of crashes that involve teen driving are due to lack of experience and poor decision making. For example, with so many rear-end car accidents occurring, it stands to reason that teen drivers may have been distracted when this happened or had a delayed reaction time due to lack of experience. Moreover, teens may also have a heightened sense of invulnerability due to their age.
The opposite is correct, however, as teen drivers are perhaps one of the most vulnerable driving groups on the roadway. As such, they must be trained and readily equipped to ensure that these unfortunate crashes are diminished in the future.
TEEN DRIVING STATS
*Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Seven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
*Per mile drove, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal accident.
* In one year alone, about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16–19 were killed, and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.
* Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.
*Teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the roads. The greatest weapon against teen driving injuries and fatalities is the PARENTS.
Characteristics of Teen Drivers and Passengers
- Male drivers were involved in 52% of crashes, while females were engaged in just 48%.
- Males were involved in single-vehicle crashes at 56% while females were engaged in just 44%.
- In 93% of the crashes, the driver was seen wearing a seatbelt.
- In 36% of crashes, passengers were present. This can be broken down further by showing that in 25.5% of crashes, one passenger was presented, while in 10.5%, two or more passengers were present.
- 27% of crashes showed that at least one passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.
- When passengers were present, it is estimated that 55% of the passengers were male.
Environment & Crash Types with Teens
- Overall, crashes occurred on roadways that connected local streets in 52% of the crashes.
- In 79% of crashes, road surface conditions were dry.
- 70% of all crashes were due to recognition errors, such as running stop signs or driving too fast.
- In 82% of crashes, performance errors occurred, such as losing control and over correcting.
- In 80% of crashes, decision errors were also made, such as the decision to speed or turn too quickly.
- The majority of crashes that involved another vehicle were rear-ended, and angle crashes.
- In single-vehicle crashes, 66% were due to loss of control.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
- Know where your child is and with whom.
- Do NOT be afraid to monitor them – there are many devices on the market today that will help parents keep track of where their teens are at all times when they are in a vehicle. The easiest method is to track the cell phone of the teen though apps or the cell phone monitoring for parents.
- Always take the time to explain the importance of safety- things like why signal, what a full stop is, and always make sure that everyone in the car is buckled up!
- Take advantage of technology to battle distracted driving!
Remember, they’re not grown up yet – and if you want them to make it to adulthood, be a proactive parent.