We all want to be safe on the road. Most parents work hard to protect their kids from harm as they navigate the teen years. Sometimes it seems like we’re spinning wheels when it comes to the problem of dangerous teenage drivers.
With challenging issues like inexperience, distracted driving, drunk driving and the impulsivity that seems to pervade much teen behavior, auto accidents remain the number one cause of death for 15 to 19-year-olds in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On its fact sheet, the CDC says that in 2015, an average of six people aged 16-19 died every day from accident injuries. Is there anything we can do to stem the tide of harm?
Education, common sense and basic safety precautions
Through good driver education, both formal (driver’s ed classes) and informal (ongoing instruction and advice from parents and other adults), it may be possible to increase critical knowledge and awareness among teen drivers. Common sense, which is harder to teach kids, can help when it comes to making smart choices on the road.
Many of us understand that “speed kills,” and teens are not exempt from the rule. In its 2014 reports, the CDC indicated 36% of male drivers aged 15-20 were speeding when they were involved in fatal crashes. For teen and adult drivers, driving at a responsible speed is an important key to being as safe as possible. And the gas pedal is one of the things that any driver can control.
Another disturbing government statistic indicates that many teenagers are not following basic safety rules. The CDC reported that, in 2015, only 61% of high school students indicated that they always wear a seat belt as a passenger. Seat belt use is a simple, well-known method of reducing serious injuries.
Distracted driving: The modern automotive epidemic
The CDC reports that teenage drivers are the most dangerous when it comes to fatal auto accidents related to distraction. By some measures, it is more dangerous to text while driving than to ride with a drunk driver. Stopping distracted driving — which is not an easy feat — will have a profound impact on road safety.
Drunk driving: The well-known killer
This one is a no brainer, but many teens still don’t understand the gravity of drinking and driving. According to the CDC’s 2014 data, nearly a quarter (24%) of males aged 15-20 who were involved in deadly accidents had been drinking. More thorough education and greater awareness — much of which can come from parents and other responsible adults — may be critical in reducing teen deaths attributable to alcohol.
Get legal advice if you were hurt in an accident
An automobile accident can be a horrifying experience, especially if you or someone you know is seriously injured. If you have questions about what to do in the wake of a car crash, reach out to an experienced attorney for a free consultation.