Car crashes are the number one killer of teens. The younger the teen, the higher the rate of car crashes. Teenage brains are still developing and as a result teens tend to be impulsive and use poor judgment. Poor decisions often include drinking and driving or texting and driving, two of the most risky behaviors when getting behind the wheel.
How Do We Protect Teen Drivers?
Graduated licensing is a highly successful idea and has been implemented in many states: it allows teens to gain driving experience under certain restrictions while they work toward getting their full license. The law is different from state to state but often includes restrictions such as:
- the number of passengers
- the age of passengers
- a minimum number of supervised driving hours with a parent or driving professional
- nighttime driving
- zero alcohol limits
Teen deaths from car accidents have dropped 62 percent since 1975 and graduated licensing is given a lot of the credit as studies have shown a clear link between these programs and lowered crash rates.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website has a calculator that estimates how many lives could be saved if states strengthened their graduated licensing laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers incentives like extra highway safety funds to states that improve their graduated licensing laws.
If your state has poor graduated licensing laws, consider creating your own contract with your teenager. Talk to your teen about the risks of driving while intoxicated or distracted. Help them understand that while they are learning it is best to be alone in the car or with one adult and avoid driving at night.
Technology like Ford’s MyKey is also proving helpful in reducing teen accidents. MyKey allows parents to set the driving rules and store them electronically in the ignition key. Features that can be controlled include the vehicle’s top speed, the volume of the radio, or even whether the radio can be turned on until the driver’s seat belt is secured.
Driver education in the form of advanced driver training can help reduce teen car crashes. When drivers are taught what to do when they are faced with an emergency they are more likely to avoid a car accident. There are many defensive driving courses available through public and private organizations such as the Tire Rack Street Survival School. These courses help teens to improve their driving skills, gain confidence, and learn the limits of their cars.
What to Look for in Car for a Teenager
If you are buying a car for your teen you may be deciding what you can afford versus what is safest. You should be looking for a vehicle that has advanced safety features like electronic stability control and third-generation air bags. Read consumer reports for a vehicle that has performed well in independent crash tests. Avoid a large truck or SUV because their high center of gravity makes them more prone to a roll over. Other disadvantages to a large vehicle include poor handling, poor fuel economy and more passenger seating which is just asking to be filled with distracting teen passengers. Sports cars are too tempting to drive fast. Choose a modest car with the best possible safety features.
If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to seek the help of a knowledgeable car accident attorney. The insurance companies are there to pay you the lowest settlement possible; it is not uncommon that a victim who hires an accident lawyer receives up to three times the settlement of someone who fights alone. Please call the caring, experienced accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation.Read More
It is widely known and acknowledged that teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years of age cause the most crash and traffic violations of any other age group. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers across the United States. The question is why? There are many factors that play into this fact including not understanding consequences to risky driving, lack of experience, high usage of drugs and alcohol, distractions such as a car full of friends, and cell phone usage.
- Unsafe Speed 35.3%
- Right of Way 20.6%
- Improper Turns 14.8%
- Sign/Signal 8.1%
- Alcohol/Drugs 5.1%
- Passing/Lane Change 4.3%
- Wrong Side of Road 3.1%
- *Distracted driving and other 8.7%
*Distracted driving includes texting and driving which is now known to be six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. It has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of car accidents among teenagers.
Teen Drivers Primary Crash Risk Factors
Poor Hazard Detection
It takes time and practice to be able to identify potential hazards on the road. Teen drivers must gain perceptual and information gathering skills over time to be able to identify threats.
Low Risk Perception
Teen drivers have a tendency to underestimate a crash risk in a hazardous situation such as an icy road and overestimate their ability to navigate the hazard.
Teen drivers tend to be overconfident in their abilities and lack an understanding of consequences to risky behaviors like speeding, tailgating, running red lights, violating traffic signs and signals, making illegal turns, passing dangerously, texting while driving, and failure to yield to pedestrians.
Not Wearing Seat Belts
Teenagers have not gotten the message as clearly as adults; they do not wear seat belts as consistently as older drivers. This choice may have to do with a lack of understanding of consequences.
Lack of Skill
It takes time to master driving and vehicle handling skills and new teen drivers simply haven’t had the time.
Alcohol and Drugs
Teens often engage in partying and drinking or using drugs and some get behind the wheel and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a common cause of serious and sometimes fatal car crashes among teenage drivers. Possibly because of lack of skill, teenagers who drink and drive are at a much higher risk of being involved in a serious car accident than are older drivers with equal concentrations of alcohol in their blood.
When teens drive with passengers in the car the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash increases by three times; the more passengers, the higher the risk. Teen male drivers are particularly at risk with teen male passengers as they may encourage the driver to take unnecessary risks.
Night driving is particularly dangerous for teen drivers: the per mile crash rate is three times higher after 9 p.m. than during the day. Among other factors, this is likely because teen driving involving alcohol or drugs is more likely to occur at night.
If your teenager has been involved in a car crash please don’t fight your insurance company alone. Do not underestimate the ability of an accident attorney to get the job done: the Insurance Research Council found that insurance payouts to clients are 3.5 times higher to those who hired an accident attorney. Call the experienced accident lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. to setup your FREE CONSULTATION today!Read More