Teenagers often consider the day they pass their driver’s license tests to be one of their life highlights. Although teens may experience excitement, parents and other drivers on the road should be a bit afraid.
Due to their inexperience, teenage drivers pose a high accident risk. Fortunately, there are things that teens and their parents can do to reduce this risk.
Statistics and facts
According to the Insurance Information Institute, car accidents are the second leading cause of fatalities for drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. Although these drivers account for only a little over 5% of the total drivers in the country, around 7% to 8% are in fatal collisions. Of these deaths, 24% were under the influence of some amount of alcohol, while 19% had a BAC of .08 or higher. Lack of seatbelt use was also found to occur in almost 50% of motor vehicle accidents.
One way that states are encouraging safer driving is by implementing graduated licensing systems. These programs delay the age of licensing and outline restrictions on driving behaviors, and this has reduced fatal and other crashes considerably.
Studies also show that more practicing hours behind the wheel is beneficial, and the National Safety Council reports that the most common cause of crashes is inexperience. Parents can encourage teenagers by riding along with them and introducing them to different driving conditions and situations.
Contrary to popular belief, parents are big influences on their teenagers, and crash risk can reduce even further if parents lay down rules before the teen begins driving. Some common ones are no teenage passengers, no cell phones, no alcohol use, no speeding and 100% seat belt use.