Teen Drivers Have a Very High Risk of Car Accidents: What Parents MUST KnowJanuary 18, 2019
The freedoms and responsibilities of getting a driver’s license for the first time also come with some serious risks for teen drivers. That’s because research shows that, when compared to adult motorists, teen drivers are:
- Two times more likely to be involved in car crashes
- Four times more likely to be in a wreck within their first 18 months of driving.
For any parent of a new teen driver, this can be frightening to consider. However, knowing the leading causes of teen driver auto accidents can be the key to helping parents mitigate the risks and take the right steps to keep their teens as safe as possible on the roads.
Teen Driver Car Accidents: The Top Five Causes
Many factors can contribute to teen driver crashes. According to transportation safety authorities, the top five causes of teen driver car crashes include:
- Inexperience – The lack of experience behind the wheel means that teen motorists don’t have the insights or skills to always safely operate vehicles, especially when risky situations arise. While teen drivers’ inexperience can impact their abilities to make the right decision when critical road situations occur, it can also mislead them into the highly risky behaviors below.
- Distraction – Cellphones and other teen passengers within a vehicle are the top two distractions that divert teen motorists’ attention from the roads. In fact, distraction is a factor in about 10 percent of all deadly teen driver wrecks.
- Alcohol – All states have a Zero Tolerance law when it comes to drinking and driving for underage motorists. Despite this, alcohol impairment is a factor in about 1 out of every 5 fatal teen driver car accidents.
- Speeding – Nearly 1 out of every 3 fatal teen driver car accidents involved the teen speeding right before the crash. When speeding is a factor in teen driver wrecks, it’s commonly paired with one of the other causes on this list, like distraction and/or alcohol impairment.
- Not buckling up – About 58 percent of teen drivers killed in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
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How Parents Can Help Their Teen Drivers Stay Safe on the Roads
While graduated driver’s license (GDL) programs have gone a long way towards reducing the incidence of teen driver car accidents, there’s a lot parents can do to help reduce the risks their teens face on the roads. Specifically, if you’re a parent of a teen driver, you can:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers (s)he faces on the roads – Discuss the five risks mentioned above with your teen and take some time to explain exactly why each factor is dangerous. Concrete numbers can go a long way towards driving home your point.
- Set some rules – Putting limits on how and when a teen can drive can help limit risky behind-the-wheel behaviors. Some helpful rules to set for teen drivers can include no driving after dark, no driving with other teen passengers, no cellphones while driving, and always driving with another adult in the vehicle.
- Get apps to prevent cellphone distractions – There are tons of apps that can disable cellphones while a vehicle is in motion. If you’re concerned about your teen using a cellphone behind the wheel, this can be a helpful option to explore.
- Model the driver behaviors you expect from your teen – Show by example. Be the safe driver you expect your teen to be.
Of course, you may not able to control the factors surrounding your teen’s vehicle – like other motorists on the road. Whenever you or your teen is hurt in a wreck caused by another party, don’t hesitate to contact the Amaro Law Firm for help and exceptional advocacy.
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