The moment that your teen passes their driving test for the first time, your heart sinks. Sure, you want your teenager to go out into the world as a first-time driver well-equipped and ready to take on any challenges that come their way. Before you send your teen out on the road for the first time with a new license, this is an article you'll want to read. We're going to explore the sordid history of teen driving and provide real-life tips that you can use to reduce risk the next time your teen gets behind the wheel.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the US.
Seven teens from 16-19 die every day in a car crash.The motor vehicle fatality rate for male drivers/passengers from 16-19 was close to two times that of female drivers/passengers.
Compared to other countries, teen driving statistics in the US are grim
The Automobile Association of America's Foundation for Traffic Safety study revealed that:
Fatal Crashes by speed limit 16 years old drivers
With help from integrated practice of graduated driver licensing, young drivers are required to gain hands-on driving experience in a number of states before they can enter into riskier situations, such as driving with teen passengers or driving at night.
NIGHTTIME DRIVINGTeens are three times more likely to crash per mile after 9 PM compared to daytime driving. For new drivers, driving at night is difficult and requires more experience; a teen may also be sleep deprived or impaired from drinking when driving at night.
MULTIPLE PASSENGERSAs discussed above, crash risk increases significantly when more teen passengers are in a vehicle with a teen driver. Peer pressure may encourage a teen to drive impulsively and take even more risks.
DRINKING /DRUG USETeens may drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to cause a potentially fatal crash. Compared to older impaired drivers, teens have a higher crash risk with alcohol in their system.
RISK TAKINGAs discussed above, teens are more impulsive and likely to take a risk that could result in a crash, like tailgating, speeding, running a stop sign or red light, making an illegal turn, or failing to yield to another vehicle or pedestrian.
HAZARD MISCALCULATIONA teen may have a more difficult time detecting hazards or risks on the road that often come with driving experience. A young driver may not be able to estimate the risk of a crash in a dangerous situation, like speeding on an icy road.
SPEEDINGEven driving 1 mph above the speed limit is considered speeding and could pose a danger to a teen driver. 39% of male drivers from ages 15-20 in fatal crashes in 2010 were speeding at the time of the accident.1
- 55%of teens in fatal crashes weren't wearing seat belts.
- 31%of teen drivers in fatal accidents were impaired.
- 39%of male drivers from ages 15-20 were speeding before a fatal crash.
- 63%of teen passenger deaths were caused by teen drivers.
- 53%of teen driving fatalities occur on the weekend.
- 41%of teen deaths occur between 9 PM and 6 AM.
Although safety is of the utmost importance, many parents may be concerned about how a reckless teen driver could affect their car insurance rates. Parent should keep in mind that car insurance rates are likely to increase when adding a teen onto a policy.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the implementation of graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs can help a teen driver to safely gain hands-on road experience with three different stages:
Learner StageSupervise driving and test driving skills.
Intermediate StageAllow unsupervised driving in risky situations.
Full Privilege Stageto result in a standard driver's license.
Based on the GDL program, many states have passed graduated driver licensing laws. These laws will vary by state and may include:
Texting or Cellphone Use31 states + Washington DC ban teen cell phone use while driving.
Passenger Restriction45 states + Washington DC restrict the number of passengers in a vehicle in the intermediate driving stage.
Nighttime Driving Restriction48 states + Washington DC restrict nighttime driving in the intermediate stage.
SeatbeltA teen with a learner's permit will also be required to wear a seatbelt at all times
Novice Driver DecalNew Jersey requires drivers under 21 without a full-privilege license to place a decal on their vehicle for identification as a new driver.
Tips For Parents :
Delay LicenseTry to delay your teen's license if possible to 17 or 18 years old.
PracticePractice driving with your teen regularly in a variety of high-risk situations.
Role ModelBe a good role model to demonstrate positive driving habits behind the wheel.
No Teen PassengersDon't allow your teen to drive with teen passengers or ride with teen drivers.
Pay Attention To Your SonPay special attention to male teen drivers as they are more likely to get into an accident than female teen drivers.
CurfewDon't allow your teen to drive after dark, regardless of state law.
No CellphoneBan cell phone use behind the wheel for yourself and your teen; remember not to call your teen when they could be driving!
Use SeatbeltEnforce seatbelt use at all times.
Safe VehicleProvide your teen with a high-rated, safe vehicle that meets the latest crash standards.
Check Up On Your Teen's Driving RegularlyEven after they have gotten their license.
"Old Drivers | Teenage Drivers - Consumer Reports." Consumer Reports Online. Web.
"Alarming study shows dangers of teen driving : News : CNYcentral.com." CNYcentral.com - Latest local news, weather and sports for Syracuse and Central New York. Web.
2008, Joseph K. Vetter with Fran Lostys from Reader's Digest | August. "Dangerous Teen Drivers | Reader's Digest." Health Tips, Food and Recipes, Funny Jokes and Cartoons, and Sweepstakes | Reader's Digest. Web.
Franco, Meredith. "The Dangers of Teen Driving." Ladies' Home Journal - beauty and fashion advice, easy recipes, and sound marriage advice from LHJ. Web.
Spotlight on HighwaySafety, Governors Highway Safety Association, 2011.
"Shocking Teen Driving Statistics." DriveSteady.com – Safe Driving, in an Unsafe World. Web.
By Chris Clark