Studies Show Teen Drivers as Greater Risk of Involvement in Accidents
It’s one of the most significant milestones in life—getting your first drivers’ license. It comes, though, with significant risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the second-leading cause of teen deaths. Drivers under the age of 20 are almost three times as likely as all other drivers to be involved in a fatal car accident. The CDC attributes the high accident and fatality rates to:
- Inexperience, leading to poor decision making
- The fact that most teen driving occurs at night and on the weekends, when visibility may be compromised or traffic heavier
- Distracted driving—One study found that almost four in ten teen drivers admitted to sending or receiving text messages while driving
- Excessive speed—Approximately one third of all teenaged males who were killed in a car wreck were speeding at the time of the accident
- Substance abuse—Many teens are experimenting with alcohol or drugs for the first time, further complicating matters when they get behind the wheel
Reducing the Risk of Teen-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
The strategies for protecting your children when they drive deal directly with the common causes of motor vehicle accidents:
- Help them find ways to avoid distracted driving—Have them put an app on their phone that prevents use while a vehicle is in motion. Set a good example, though, when they ride with you. Your children pay attention to the things you do. If it’s okay for you, they assume it’s okay for them.
- Help them develop their driving skills—When you travel together, let your teenager drive. Let them have practice learning how to judge distances, how to properly brake, how to take corners, and how to change lanes. Be willing to go to a vacant parking lot and let them practice essential skills.
- Be consistent in your messages to them—Don’t ignore concerns such as drinking and driving, speeding or distracted driving. Make certain they understand that you are primarily concerned for their safety.